Music is often the escape for sharing thoughts, feelings, and emotions that go unsaid. imPRESSED is proud to be premiering “Tryna,” the newest single from Slake Dransky. “Tryna” (also available via Spotify and Soundcloud), which features Nobi, sees Dransky in an authentic light as a heavy-hitting rap artist who is refreshingly real with his lyrics and this song’s hidden messages. The new single starts off light and playful, peppered with some political commentary but, as the song progresses and the production goes harder, Dransky addresses hard-hitting topics revolving around the dynamics of his home life, maintaining honesty amidst editing oneself to an audience, and the troubles of explaining himself and his art to the people among other things.
The heavy lyrics are set against a classic hip-hop soundscape – fast, upbeat, dynamic, beat-heavy – resulting in a banger of a track. The last 60 seconds take a sharp detour into the classical world, with a beautiful string section that floats through the air, giving listeners time to breathe and take in this emotional powerhouse. Overall, “Tryna” is a deeply personal track with a colorful sound for every ear. We sat down with Slake to get the inside scoop on “Tryna” and to learn more about his eclectic artistry.
Can you share the story/inspiration behind “Tryna”?
Slake Dransky: “The beat went so hard when I first heard it that I knew I could allow myself to write something a little more..uh.. defiant or gritty than I usually do. When you listen to the hook, it’s genuinely one of the first times in my music I think I’ve ever acknowledged that there are times I really could give two shits about explaining myself and my art to people.
Generally, I’m an artist who is hyper-aware of what people are gonna think of my tracks and my lyrics, and how my lyrics relate to how I’m doing personally. And that’s a tricky thing! On one hand, I LOVE that my fans care about my well-being enough to reach out. But on the other, constant self-editing for the sake of potential appeasement is a creativity killer. Sometimes it just is what it is. I think I let myself go more on this track than some might be used to. I’m excited about that.”
What do you hope it conveys to fans? (or) How do you hope it makes them feel?
“I hope they feel invited into my life and my journey. I hope they feel powerful.”
How does this single expand your artistry?
“In a number of ways, but I think it speaks most to my confidence in taking artistic risks. I chose a beat that’s a pretty classic banger until it devolves into an immersive orchestral break, and then I thought, ‘yeah, that’s a single.’ I chose to write about some deeply personal aspects of my life (familial addiction, personal self-medication) on the same track that I’m also declaring that there’s ‘only so much I’m tryna explain to you.’
I chose to pen a verse that hardens as the beat does in an effort to support the thematic through-line of not only the track, but the album it’s a part of. These singles matter to me, but when people go back and listen to ‘Tryna’ in context they’re gonna be able to derive more. There’s a trust I’m placing in my music and in the listener that this is good enough to bring them back to the project. That’s all a risk. But I’m pretty comfortable betting on myself when it comes to this rap shit.”
How has your music evolved from the beginning to this release?
“Technically, I think I’m writing better hooks than I have in the past, I think I’m getting better at trimming fat and keeping vivid imagery while staying succinct. BUT, honestly, all that matters to me is that there’s more of me in it. More colors. I think people will hear the new project and feel like they know me in a way… like we’re homies! And that’s exactly what I want!”
What is your creative process for creating new music? Specifically, this single?
“I’m a suuuuuper beat-driven artist. I mean, I have half-verses and punchlines and voice memos of hooks on my phone for days, but rarely do I go into a track thinking ‘okay I wanna write a song about _____.’ More likely is that I hear a beat and it sparks something in me. That was the case with ‘Tryna.’ I found this dude Chu through YouTube (expected I know) and the beat absolutely did it for me. Immediately I saw a place for it on the project.
In the grand scheme of creating though, I think it’s important to note that I’m not the kind of artist who is always writing. I genuinely go through spurts where I can’t be stopped, and then weeks or months where I’m just living and taking that in! I believe pretty strongly in taking time to recharge and re-up on life experience between projects. When I remove the element of time and arbitrary deadlines, there’s no such thing as writer’s block!”
How has COVID-19 impacted you both personally and as an artist?
“This crisis has reminded me that health, safety, family, community, and love are tantamount and that there’s a healthy amount of overlap between them. I’m extremely lucky all of my family and friends are healthy and safe. That said, it’s had a huge impact! I lost my job. The studio I’d recorded the first 3/4 of my album closed. It left a ton of my features with no means of recording, so I had to write new verses and restructure whole chunks of the project.
I bought foam pads. I turned my closet into a booth. I had remote mix sessions with my engineer via Discord. We made do! By far the biggest impact, though, was my decision to move home and ride out the quarantine. I was lucky that my lease was up May 1st, and the more I thought about it the more it made sense to be around family and save money when everything has gone digital anyway. There’s nothing I need to be in LA for right now. I’m thrilled to be home as the world starts to hear everything we’ve been working on.”
What can fans expect next?
“Colors, my first full-length studio album, drops June 5th.”