What message should today’s music represent? For Chicago rapper Ausar Bradley, progression and the power to uplift is how he chooses to tell his story and life experiences. Growing up in a large family of 10 siblings, he developed a love for music and the creativity behind the sound and beats at a young age. He began his journey as a performer when his older step-brother Nick approached him. His step-brother’s love of instrumentals piqued the interest of the rapper/college student and he began to develop a special relationship with him solely based off their mutual passion for music.
“When we first met up Nick was really heavy into instrumentals,” he fondly recalls. He jokingly reveals that Nick is his favorite sibling because of the time they spent together working on music.
Nick’s passion ignited Ausar’s curiosity, fueling the love behind the very music he makes today.
“I remember one of the first questions he asked was do you like regular music or instrumentals?” said Ausar. “I remember seeing his MP3 and he had a lot of instrumentals, so I said instrumentals.”
Beginnings at Age Four
Although Nick inspired Ausar, the rapper had already spent time trying his hand at writing. At just four-years-old Ausar already categorized himself as a young writer. Yet, he began to take his craft more serious as he got older. According to the rapper, Nick continuously exposed Ausar to different kinds of beats while growing up and it wasn’t long before it was a family affair. Nick, Ausar and some of his other siblings began to get more musically creative.
“When we would get bored me and my brothers would sit in the basement and just write,” he said. “Then that turned into me wanting to make my own beats that we could rap to.”
Daring to Go Professional
With the support of his family, while in his sophomore year of high school, he was able to acquire equipment in order to make his own beats. When entering his freshman year of college, Ausar finally found the courage to take his rapping career to the next level.
“Once I finally got to college I joined this group called ‘Word,”‘ he recalled. “Word gave me the confidence to go ahead and put out a project.”
Unfortunately, financial hardships arose and the rapper found himself forced to take a break from school. But, he took this experience, most would perceive as frustrating and turned it into something positive.
“I was able to self-reflect, work on music and work on myself,” Ausar said. “I’m learning to work on me and realize that everything isn’t going to be just astounding. Just work with what you got and let it flow.”
A Comeback on Campus
In order to take his career to the next level, the college junior made connections with a group on the University of Illinois– Urbana campus called AIM (Artistically Intelligent Minds). The group consisted of him, Romell Moore (in-house producer) and Josi Green. With these newly acquired connections, Ausar then had the opportunity to record his first project.
“When I’m at my school I record with this guy named Rick Field who I met in one of my Calculus classes,” the Chicago bred rapper/performer said. “I recorded my whole first project out of his bathroom. The quality of it (the record) sounds so amazing for it to be recorded in his bathroom.”
Maintaining Creative Freedom
When in Chicago, Ausar records in the studio at Classic Records. However, on some occasions, he makes music in other studios around Chicago. Yet, Ausar chooses to not work with a label professionally right now. This is because he hopes to maintain the creative freedom that he now has to inspire his listeners.
“One of the things that really motivates me is that the music that I make really helps them,” he said passionately. “I want the music that I make to be uplifting. I want it to change people…to send a message.”
“The Six Page Letter”
In order to achieve his vision, the young rapper/writer is willing to put the extraordinary effort and work into his craft just to send a positive message to the world. With every project, he works to make each one better than the last in some aspect. He realizes that through good music coupled with a go-getter mentality, his vision can become a reality.
“Progression is something that I strive for most,” said Ausar. “Lyrically this song can be great. The next song I make doesn’t have to be greater lyrically than this. [But]There can be another avenue you take in the next song that makes it just as good as this one.”
Ausar is currently working on his second project, “The Six Page Letter.”He got the idea from an inspirational letter that Ausar received from a friend during tough times.