Pre Faiz ( Breakdown )
The title of the project is supposed to be a play on words. A Preface of a book is typically the introduction, and usually provides information on what the book will be about.
I felt that, this being my first project It should be viewed as my foundation, and a glimpse into the kind of artist I am.
I started this project when I was 16, in 2010 and I only had the concept in mind at the time. I was writing songs over other people's beats ( the first song I released under the name Faiz was over Nas' " Film " beat ) prior to starting this project. By the end of 2010 I had probably written 30 songs, over other people's tracks. Around the first week of February in 2011 I decided that I'd produce because I knew it'd set me apart as an artist and it'd give me more control creatively and help me articulate my vision in a better light. But it wasn't an easy transition into production, my beats were garbage for the first couple of months I actually spent making them ( @Cruz , @missy , @Ricky Davis , and @Hasman ) know " No Pain " lol. I was still writing over people's beats and a friend of mine had sent me a beat that I decided to use for this album. Thats when I wrote Picture Perfect. I was searching through YouTube for instrumentals when I stumbled up on the instrumental that inspired me to write Won't Be Long . The original version I recorded was horrible quality but it had three verses by me. A friend of mine who also makes music who I went to school with called me up and told me he wanted to get on the song. I really had high aspirations for the song, and I wanted people to hear it in the best light possible so I agree'd to let him get on the song, because he had a studio and I knew that it'd be the best quality I could have at the time. But I digress...I still had the mindset of being a producer, I kept spending sleepless nights working on my craft. I felt like despite no-one really believing in me, if I believed in myself enough I'd progress faster and faster. Over the summer of the same year, I had started smoking weed and my productivity had cut down to almost zero. I wasn't writing, producing, or even thinking of music, and I just felt like a fuckin' couch potato. After the summer had ended I decided that I'd need to make some serious life changes if I was going to go anywhere with this music. By August, I had a good grip on creating beats that you could actually rap on. In September I created Lost . I was satisfied with where I was at at the time, but I knew I had a long way to go. On a Saturday afternoon in December, 2011, I sat down at my computer and told myself I was gonna make a great song that day. I played around with the D-Minor Scale for about three hours, then I came up with the Chords for Romantic Catastrophe. After I made that song I knew that this album was on the roll and the momentum had just begun...
By the beginning of 2012 I had started devising tracklists, concepts, even video treatments for the project. I quit smoking weed because I knew that it inhibited me as a creative, despite the cliche that you create better when you're high. By April of 2012 I had the best beats I had created at the time ( Songs that didn't make the album ). That summer also was the most productive summer during the process of creating this album. In July I made Me Against The World , Concrete Tales , and Flashback . All in that one month. Once school time rolled around I started second guessing the album because my beats were getting better and better, I thought about scrapping it and creating a completely different project from scratch. For the rest of the year I just focused on making new music. I also was getting ready to go to school for Audio Engineering...
At the top of 2013 I felt like I was a more polished producer, I also felt more inclined to scrap the project I had been working on for so long up until this point. I had the verse for Joyride ( it was originally over Devil in a new dress by Kanye ) written already, but I made a beat in January that I felt suited the feel of the song perfectly. I literally think when you listen to that song, you feel as if you're in the car with me speeding down the local road as the police are in pursuit. Due to some personal stuff I cut down on making music once I got to New York for school. It was the most depressing time of my life, but I loved being in the city. I hadn't really been making new songs, much less thinking about Pre Faiz. I faught my way out of the depression and released a song on my 19th birthday 94' To Forever and got back into the groove of making music. In July of that year I made If I Had It All But only had the first four bars written. As the year went on I just kept making music, and the thought of creating an album had slipped into my subconscious I was just in the zone. Once I finished school in November of that year I had a decision to make. Do I work on something completely new ? Or do I integrate the new with the old ? The next four months after that would be the most stressful time of this entire process...
As the new year rolled in I had a constant internal battle going on. I knew I could make better music than I had in the past four years, especially since I had just finished school for engineering. In fact to test myself I decided to make an entire song in one day just to see if I could do it. This song turned out to be Black Thoughts . The fact that I actually did it, did not help the cause at all. I've always been a perfectionist in a sense, which is why my music takes so long to reach the public. I've always been very meticulous when it comes to my craft because I learned first hand that if you don't like your music you can't expect others to like your music. I spent three months straight ( February - April ) recording and re-recording vocals. I could try and be cool and say that I did all my verses in one take, but I'd be the biggest liar on the planet. Some of these fucking songs took 20+ takes to sound the way they do now. I had a roadmap written down for this project and the time I spent recording was when I should've been mixing the project. The initial release was supposed to be April 19th, which was the 20th anniversary of illmatic. Everyone who knows me personally knows how big of a Nas fan I am ( I have all the mans albums, in hard copies ). So releasing it on that date would've been perfect. But I believe that everything happens for a reason, and although the stars didn't align for me on that day I was learning new techniques on recording vocals I was learning new mixing approaches and without knowing it I was adding layers to the album that wouldn't have been there had I not been delayed.
… I literally finished this album the day before I released it, this was probably the most stressful thing I've ever worked on. But nevertheless I'm proud of myself and I'm happy I actually got to release it….These are real life situations that I've either been in or witnessed, these are real characters with real emotions and real personalities. I pride myself as an artist because I feel that the imagery I create in my songs are so accurate you can close your eyes and picture the scenario's. Whether you decide you like my music or not, I'd like for you to think of all the layers I put into songs when you hear them.
Thanks for listening,