Queens rapper/actor Julian Stephen recently took the time to reintroduce his #AwkwardMoments mixtape, which was released last month. As he and his team gear up to release more videos from the project, Stephen takes the time to breakdown his thoughts behind each song:
On "Sophisticated Thoughts" (Prod. by BrandUN Deshay):
I'm at this point in my life where I've decided that I am of a different breed [and] cut from a different cloth. With that being said, if I want to be on a higher level I need tothink on a higher level as well. It's important; it's key. I penned this record from a poetic standpoint. These lyrics are quotes. Hip-hop is at a point where we should be proud of our intellect.
On "Shootin' Hoops" (Prod. by The Common Wealth):
There was a period of time in the process of making this project where I was completely lost. I had three records for months with no idea of how to move forward and create anything. Every day for one particular week I would go outside, shoot around by myself, listen to the beats I had, and just freestyle. I'm playing ball, tryna ball and it was just the irony of the situation that stuck with someone in my position.
On "Hoodie Music" (Prod. by Trox):
This song initially wasn't meant for the project but hey, shit changes. I can't count how many times I find myself on the train thinking about how much people may disregard me or hate on me. Not only do I live inside my mind but I spend my time inside of my hoodie. Something about it makes me feel safe and alone.
On "69 (CREEPIN')" (Prod. by Andrew Lloyd):
No lie, I must have had the best sex ever prior to recording this record [laughs]. Right after, I was overthinking as usual. Asking myself the typical questions, like 'What does this all mean? Why are we both tied together?' Like a lame, but I wanted to tell a love story, not a cliché love story. What draws two human beings together and inspires them to continue being drawn together. Maybe I was listening to CrazySexyCool. Who knows.
On "Momma Knows Best" (Prod. by Andrew Lloyd):
It was a late night. Everyone [was] asleep in the studio and I [was] smacked. I hadn't checked my phone for a minute but once I got to check it I had wild missed calls, texts, voicemails, you name it. My mom hadn't heard from me in days. If I'm recording you know I'm low. Looking at my phone the last one she sent was, "I'm going to pray for you". [laughs] I'm like, that's mad extra but true at the same time, I could definitely use that.
On "Tootsie Roll" (Prod. by Trox):
Someone asked me to write them a song. I cut a few songs already so I said why not give it a try. There are over four versions of this record too. Will I release them? Maybe, maybe not. So as I'm recording the record I realize there isn't much good to say about the person. Like she has everything I want, but nothing I need. She fucked like three dudes I know. What is so special about a girl that someone you know has had? I mean, I don't give a fuck, but why would you ask for a song? That's just stupid. Anyone like that is best across the room dancing in slow motion just being a tease.
On "Insecure Fears" (Prod. by The Common Wealth):
Insecurities! Even the hoodest of dudes to the most gorgeous of people has them, but we just deal with them differently. I'm glad I'm one of those artists that's able to touch on these type of topics. It's a privilege to speak on something that occurs so often. Not a lot of artists have that privilege.
On "On & Off" (Prod. by Qwest Beats):
Over and over and over again! When I got this beat I was blown away. I was like, I need this beat. It's just something I wanted on the project so bad.
On "Dance with Me" (Prod. by Tim William):
Tim had this beat for me for years just sitting in the vault and I knew it was a gem. When we really sit in parties and scope what's going through our minds, what is the thought process? The feeling a girl could give me when I dance with her legit makes me feel like I'm popular, cool, that nigga [laughs].
On "Booty Call Hrs" (Prod. by Mizfitz Soundz):
I don't know how many times people have told me, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." I feel like this is the quote of the year, but I don't know what it is about this time of night where all conversations are viewed differently. I mean, people boast about not sleeping, but there's something about a late night text that screams "booty call" [laughs]. What if I just want to chat? But I'm over people hitting me up just because they want something.
On "Hey Stranger" (Prod. by The Common Wealth):
So I watched this creepy independent film on Netflix called "Megan Is Missing" and one of the characters really stood out to me. Innocent girl in this poisonous world; this story is just something I've been meaning to tell for so long, it just had to be the right timing. I wanted it to have a twist and really hit people. The concept of the "hey stranger" text is so overlooked on how we take friendships for granted. The art of conversation is taken for granted and no one values it anymore.
On "11:11" (Prod. by James Moore):
I can't count how many times I've been haunted by "11:11" or "1:11". I don't know but I got to a point where I anticipated it and it just got so bad where I was obsessing over it, googling the meaning and shit [laughs]. Not to mention I would see it during the weirdest times, but it really ended up meaning something to me. But I wrote the song for me and made a wish of my own.