When it comes to the power of Twitter, in tandem with the power of music, nothing proves the strength of the internet quite like my friendship with Armani White. The complex lyricist and I met nearly a year and a half ago, shortly after the release of his life-changing video for "Stick Up."
I was getting a lot of music submissions at the time, but for some reason this one managed to catch my eye, and it's a good thing it did because it's hard to remember a track I received randomly that I've ever enjoyed more. White has arguably been much quieter in 2016, and many could possibly find that as a weak spot- perhaps he hasn't been working, quietly resting on his laurels while his tracks rack up listens, but that's hardly the case. He has actually been honing his music and getting ready for an LP throughout the greater US, perfecting his sound back home in Philadelphia, and in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
This is where I meet up with him. He's been spending time in my great city, adding collections of songs to his arsenal. The city is foreign to him, despite the fact that he seems to love it more than I do. We spent a few days together under the warm sun, with highlights including us taking him to Sundubu jjigae, or Korean hotpot, and the shock of finding a shrimp with its head intact in his soup. While we might not agree on food, we do agree on one thing- his music.
For Armani, time splits into two- before and after "Stick Up." "The [video] changed everything," he tells me as we sit playing pool midday at a La Brea apartment complex he's been staying at with some friends; the Los Angeles breeze wafts in as the heat begins to rise. The weather is great, and Armani will take moments to appreciate Los Angeles' beauty like only someone who's worked for it would. He shoots pool with power and energy, but tells me he's actually not an expert at the game. I hit the ball in a way only a novice would and stop. I put my cue down to talk more about life after his 2015 sleeper hit.
For those that haven't listened and watched the short video (posted above), it's essential that you do so ASAP. The video was shot on a budget with some friends, but the result changed his life. He's since built up a strong internet presence, as well as a team of serious music industry veterans that are getting ready to push his album to the next level.
There is no record label that hasn't approached him for a deal at this point, but he's decided to chance it on being an independent artist instead. It's a risk he's more than happy to take, and his team is right there with him.
"The people working with me know me enough to know that they're going to get sorted," he mentions as we continue to talk about the current record label deals and the flaws within the bylines of the contracts.
He's been spending countless hours in the studio, scrapping the tracks he deems not good enough early, grabbing influences from everywhere he can, and linking up with power hitters and up-and-comers alike.
I ask him how many producers hit him up after "Stick Up," and he tells me - "name one." Unsurprisingly, they all have. It's allowed him to be careful about who he teams up with, choosing people he truly believes he can create some magic with. He plays me some demos, and while so many of them are unfinished, they all hint at something special
In reality, his album was supposed to be long done by now, and released this past Spring, but life rudely interrupted him. While delays like this can make a lesser team nervous, it's only reassured his team more. They, and myself, are equally confident that the delay can only mean that even more greatness is nesting in his mind and preparing itself for world domination.
Only time will truly tell, but with the handful releases he's put out so far, he's going to be a name that you're going to want to remember in 2017, and a serious force to be reckoned with in Hip Hop culture.