To Top

Life & Work with 3Fifs

Today we’d like to introduce you to 3Fifs.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My Dad was one of the top event DJs in the city, and when he was in college, he recorded a couple music videos himself, so I’ve always been a rapper and writer because of his influence. While I was in college at Florida A&M University, I performed with the Black on Black Rhyme poetry troupe. Performing with these other talented poets helped me master different cadences and rhyme schemes that weren’t always typical in hip-hop, and it helped me win “Poet of the Year” back in 2010.

When I graduated, I had full intention of going to law school and being an entertainment attorney and manager. That all changed when I was hanging out with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. My man TJ was a writer who had just charted number one on the dance billboards with a song he wrote for Kat Deluna, and he and I were hanging out at a wedding reception catching up. On the way out, we sat in the car and started listening to beats and talking music. As I always do when I’m a bit under the influence, I started freestyling. The verse was good enough that TJ encouraged me to pursue music and helped me book my first studio session the next day.

In my first studio session, I recorded “Dive in Deep,” a song that people still tell me they love to this day. I loved the energy and feeling I had in the studio, and I really liked the way I sounded on record, so I booked an 8-hour session scheduled the following week and recorded my first mixtape, “Raspberry Rum.” The session was in summer 2011 at Jupiter Studios. My man Adrian was at the board, and I brought TJ, my boy Shoota, and my cousin O So to the studio with me. We recorded 10 tracks in that 8-hour session, and then I sent the project to a handful of people who I knew would keep it real with me. Everybody loved the project, and that encouraged me to keep going. I recorded two more full projects over the next 4 months and released a stream of videos in January 2012 that got great response online. By the time I released my first full-length project, “Birth of a Nation” in February 2013, I had a solid following, and that allowed my project to sell 20,000 copies in the streets. I was nominated for SLUMFEST “Freshman of the Year,” performed a sold-out show at Cicero’s with my boy Marc Goone, and was one of 14 US-born hip-hop artists to feature in the Canadian Music Week festival in Toronto in 2014.

After releasing my second project, “The Runaway LP” in 2015, I won “Urban Songwriter of the Year” in the Great American Song Contest, and my song “Blind the Sun” went on to earn more than a quarter-million streams. At the time The Runway released, I was preparing to get married, and my priorities had shifted. I stepped away from recording music in 2016, and though I kept writing, I didn’t think I would be releasing any more music.

In 2020, I was running the most profitable used car dealership in my company in the state of Florida, and then, COVID caused the company to go bankrupt and shut down all car sales operations. My first week home without a job, I wrote three songs. A few weeks later, I started recording again. In April of this year, my cousin O So, with whom I shared nearly all of my good memories in this music business, was murdered, killed by his own girlfriend. O So’s death was devastating, and I still have a hard time talking about it, but it inspired me and made me realize that God put this music back into my life now for a reason. I’ve gotta make one more run for my cousin. I then dropped “Season of the Fall,” my first single in six years, and the response has been overwhelming.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road definitely hasn’t been smooth. Me and my man TJ, that convinced me to pursue music in the first place, had a falling out right before I released “Birth of a Nation,” and that caused me to try and quickly learn how to properly release and promote music myself. During that time, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on “marketing strategies” that got me temporarily removed from Datpiff. Once I started to recognize the scams and studied the industry, I was able to make better investments, but it cost me thousands of dollars to learn those lessons.

I was living in Atlanta when I dropped “The Runaway LP,” and not knowing anyone there and also not being the best networker is partially why I didn’t promote that project in any way. I also was being offered great money to go on tour when I first got to Atlanta, but the company ended up in hot water with the FEDs, and that tour never materialized. I also hired a management team in Atlanta, and they helped me get a couple shows and to understand some of the key players in the industry, but it wasn’t the deal-sealing squad I envisioned. Partly because I thought I was better than I was, we stopped doing business with each other as well.

When I moved to Florida, I got booked on a handful of shows and was getting love from the crowds, but the shows were janky, so I stopped performing. I also shot a video, but it didn’t come out very well at all, so I chalked that money up as a loss. That’s what prompted me to step away from the music scene and focus more on my car business career.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am an award-winning hip-hop artist born and raised in St. Louis, MO. I’m most proud of performing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto during Canadian Music Week 2014 and winning the “Urban Songwriter of the Year” award in 2016 for my song, “Blind the Sun.” 

What sets me apart from other hip-hop artists is my purpose. I was a big fan of Game when he first came out, and when he and G-Unit fell out, I wanted to know more about the artists he had on his roster at Black Wallstreet. In trying to find this information, I accidentally learned about the real Black Wall Street and the massacre in Tulsa, OK. I was fascinated by this part of history that I never knew about, so I went deeper, reading thousands of articles and think pieces about obscure pieces of Black history and several autobiographies and memoirs from leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Having become a self-taught history buff, Black history inspired many aspects of my music along the way, and it is how I chose the name “3Fifs.” 

3Fifs is an ode to the three-fifths compromise, which declared enslaved Africans to be three-fifths of a person in regards to voter representation to help the southern states gain more delegates in Congress. For me, it’s a statement: when the first boats of captured Africans arrived to the Americas, we were considered cattle; then, as it became convenient, we were looked at as slightly more than that, but still inhuman. Now, I want the world to watch as I become something more. 

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Clear, sunny skies, a nice breeze, and kids laughing in the background takes me to a happy place. People being kind and genuine, enjoying life, makes me happy. Good food, premium cigars, and good music make me happy. Seeing others succeed and become something more than they imagined makes me happy. In general, I enjoy winning, and I like seeing other people win. Life is too short to get caught up in negativity. We spend every day dying, but not enough of us spend enough time living. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Next Trend Media
Adam Bissonnette Photography
Year 60 Photography

Suggest a Story: VoyageSTL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. C Barlow Bush

    December 9, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    A skilled rapper and brother of many talents and gifts!
    Absolutely an entertaining presence and one to watch for even greater achievements!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Local Stories