In the latest episode of EVOKED, we delved into the world of Kasual OWNLY, a performing artist and rapper whose journey from the streets of Bronzeville to the beats of hip-hop encapsulates more than just music—it's a tale of authenticity, resilience, and creative evolution.
Kasual OWNLY, a native of the vibrant Bronzeville area, discovered his passion for music through an unexpected avenue—poetry. At nine, he was captivated by the power of spoken word, its authenticity and raw emotion.
This early encounter with poetry, although initially challenging, laid the foundation for his artistic expression. "I sucked at poetry, but I'm good at rhyming," Kasual confessed, illuminating the pivotal moment when he penned his first rap at the tender age of 10.
His journey through music wasn't just a pursuit of a passion but a navigation through life's complexities. Kasual's narrative is a vibrant tapestry of experiences—from freestyling at school lunch tables to finding his voice in the Music Lab program. He shared, "Music is always changing, and it's never the same." This philosophy reflects not only in his music but also in his approach to life.
A significant aspect of Kasual's artistry stems from his personal experiences. Relationships, pivotal conversations, and even losses within his family have all found their way into his lyrics.
Each song is a fragment of his life, a snapshot of a moment, an emotion, or a memory. His track "A Better Place," for instance, was inspired by the loss of his grandfather—a testament to his ability to channel personal grief into artistic expression.
Kasual's insights extend beyond the confines of music. He emphasizes the importance of self-belief and resilience in the face of skepticism and doubt. His advice to aspiring artists is as real as his lyrics: "Block out the doubters, go ghost on them for a while... It's a healthy habit to have if you're going on this journey."
Moreover, Kasual OWNLY doesn't just create music; he creates a narrative that listeners can relate to and draw inspiration from. His advice on finding the right balance between confidence and humility is particularly striking. He suggests surrounding oneself with people at different levels—those you can learn from, teach, and grow alongside. It's this blend of self-awareness and community that fuels his journey.
Kasual OWNLY's story is more than a chronicle of a rapper's rise; it's a beacon of inspiration for anyone chasing a dream. It's about transforming self-doubt into self-expression, challenges into opportunities, and every note into a narrative. His journey underscores the power of authenticity and the beauty of turning life's cacophony into a symphony of success. As he aptly put it, "You were once where I was before... It took you time." This is a mantra not just for musicians but for anyone with a dream.