Today we’d like to introduce you to Butch Vega.
Butch, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was seven when I fell in love with hip-hop — my cousin gave me a copy of The Chronic and Doggy Style on a camping trip. I played them all weekend and every day after until the CD’s scratched. A few years later I got my first microphone and audio software for Christmas. I began recording music in my room on an old dell laptop. Though the equipment’s upgraded, I’ve been making music the same way since — I write, record, and mix in my ATL condo. I was born in Colombia and raised on the Northside of Gwinnett — my music toes the line between the place where I was born and the place that saw me grow into a man. It’s a fusion of melodies that represent the two cities I call home. Its part dirty south hip-hop, sometimes with a dash of latin flavor, and it’s always brutally honest. I rap about life — the good times, the struggles, the ups and downs. The moments I want to remember and those I want to forget. I’m in a constant state of flux, waiting for the next moment that will inspire a song.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Most of my struggles have been mental. Figuring out who I am as a man and therefore who I am as an artist. I create from life— all my music is born from things I experience. Sometimes when it feels like the world is on pause, when nothing is happening, it also feels like the music will never come. Like there’s something inside you desperately need to release and it’s just not coming. I need to have a goal, an ideal, something to aspire to — whether it’s a dream or a person, something that makes me look forward to what could be, a key to open the flood gates.
It’s challenging to open your psyche to the world, to share moments that sometimes feel deeply personal. But good music is vulnerable, it allows you to transport, to feel heard, to move through life’s challenges. I’ve struggled a lot to balance both parts of myself — the side that’s hard and fun and can even be cold and the side that’s sensitive.
We’d love to hear more about your collective, Daydream Clique.
We’re artists, dreamers, people who fight for the things they love and believe in. We’re tattoo artists, photographers, bikers, painters, musicians, writers and more — creatives fighting for a dream. As a rapper, I think that my music has something for everyone. People are complicated, we have many sides, and at different moments we can tap in and out of different senses of self. I’m most proud of creating hip-hop that crosses borders, that encompasses all parts of a person’s identity. I am passionate about my work — I take pride in not being outworked. Because I don’t ever create because I have to. I make music because I need to. Because it’s part of who I am, and people who listen to my music will know that every word they hear is real. I don’t make music for clout; I rap because I love hip-hop.
What were you like growing up?
Definitely a class clown — loved to party, make jokes, smoke with my friends. I lived to skip school. I was never a bad kid, someone who would ever cause harm to anyone but let’s say some kids weren’t allowed to hang out with me. I had every type off friend — black, white, Hispanic, rich, poor, hip and square. Friends who were afraid to take the long way home in case they’d be late and friends I’ve done things with that I’d never say. I was always drawn to people of all kinds. I was interested in everyone, how they lived, how their brains worked. I was never bad at school; I just didn’t care. But I loved writing. I was super interested in psychology and learning what makes people tick, learning myself better. Definitely women, I started writing about my experiences with women long ago. I was a curious kid. So, I experienced a lot of things, which is why I have an open mind. All those experiences shape who I am now as a man who’s come into himself.
June Guz Photography