People with Passion
May 16, 2011
On May 10, Blink‘s music video “Dreams of a Winner” won the third “3 Music Videos You Haven’t Seen Yet” contest at ChicagoNow’s Lists That Actually Matter, topping NightLife’s “Goodbye” and Louis and The Hunt’s “They Saw Those Lights.”
Blink and I met up at his Chicago apartment across from studio The Ambulance Factory to discuss the making of the song and its video, and his transition from Nigeria to America.
The World is Small, the entire album has a story that I was flowing with. For the video for that song, I wanted to make sure I got the introduction part out of the picture – “Who’s Blink? Where is he from? What is he doing here?” more or less. To be very honest, we didn’t put that much thought into the video. Me and Fly Kite Media, my homie Corn, we went downtown and looked at different locations and picked those spots.
Twenty minutes before the video started, The Boy Illinois showed up. And I was like, “You know what? Bro, let’s do this video.” We went over the little introduction part a couple of times and then went out there and shot it. We probably shot that scene four times. It was nothing too rehearsed. That video was me trying to get a clean-enough visual to back the song, and to promote the project I was releasing that week.
Sort of fortuitous that Boy Illinois showed up, since it’s a song about being in Chicago.
Exactly. Exactly. It tied in pretty well. I was happy with the way it came out.
How’s the response been?
So far so good. For artists at my level, it’s been decent. It has like 3,029 views now. People like the song a lot. So far so good. People in Chicago like it a lot. People back home in Nigeria like it a lot.
The line that has stuck out in my head from listening to the song is “Win, lose, or draw/ that’s a personal decision.” Is that something that you carry with you in all of your work?
Yeah. You can see, my mottos: “Death or Success.” I write it everywhere. [Rolls in chair and points to sheets of paper taped to the wall.] It’s on my wall. “You can do it.” “Don’t hope it happens. Make it happen.” Anything I set out to do in life, the success rate is up to me. It’s very easy to come up with different excuses why things do not work. I just feel like when it comes to anything that I’m going to be going into, that the win, lose, or draw, that’s a decision I have to make before I even go into it.
This project I put out, The World is Small, I found out so much about so many different things, and especially myself. Baron Boys sent me like 400 beats. They literally sent me four zip folders with 100 beats each. Picked like 30 something beats. Wrote 17 songs for the album. And after writing the songs, I started writing little short stories for every song to find out more about myself. Just getting more thoughts out, more ideas. Because I’m coming from a very different position. I’m a Nigerian, born and raised, who’s living in America making hip-hop music. People are going to have a million questions, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t leave out any little detail of who I am.
So this is the People with Passion series, but rather than asking you about your passion for your music, this seems more relevant: What is it that you love about Chicago?
(Laughs.) First and foremost, everybody loves the Chicago skyline. It’s a beautiful city. But I’ll tell you what: the people. (Pause.) Before I tell you what I love, right, let me tell you what I was most surprised about when I moved to Chicago. Coming from Nigeria, I’d never been to America before. I really did not know what to expect. I came here to this beautiful city, but quite segregated, as we all know. I knew racism existed, but I just did not know that was in America still. So that was the first shock.
But with all that, the people of Chicago are very, very original. I like them. I’ve met very, very original people. All my friends, people like Boy Illinois, 3Tre, they’ve changed my life for the better. They’ve made me a better person. Because people out here are confident, very very confident. Some people are cocky. But the good people you get to meet, like General, all these people, the good people you get to meet are very original, authentic people. That’s one thing I like the most about Chicago, the people. The people I’ve met and come across.
Jack M Silverstein covers music, sports, and culture in Chicago. His book “Our President” is available at Amazon. Hit him up on Twitter @ReadJack, and follow his work at ChicagoNow’s Lists That Actually Matter.
* New “3 Music Videos You Haven’t Seen Yet” coming next Wednesday!
* Want your music video included in the contest? Tweet Jack a link @ReadJack with hashtag #3MV, or email him at Jack@ReadJack.com.
* 23 MAR 2011 — more on Blink from ReadJack