Interviewed by Glo(w)/Written by Glo(w)
Intimacy is a sacred element produced when vulnerability and authenticity collide. To be vulnerable merely means that one has the ability to feel and be felt. To be authentic in the expression of those feelings births pure intimacy. Sometimes, we don't value the truths one spills when they clearly express their deepest darkest thoughts: intimacy isn't always perfectly prosed. Sometimes, it rambles, it bursts into a space with clanking symbols, obtrusive and uncomfortable. Not everyone is prepared to receive. Intimacy is one's own ability to know their truth and share their truth, and it is a tool that has the power to create bridges of connectivity.
Arshad Goods is a metaphorical mason, using lyrics as bricks to bridge the gap between generations and genres. His music is open and honest. Every song is dipped in humanity and peppered with his own personality. His songs are the embodiment of intimacy as he shares his own truths. He discusses topics of love and lust, good and evil, wisdom of both the physical and spiritual kind. It is through the open use of dichotomies that each listener can learn something about their own beliefs while listening to Arshad Goods as he shares his.
Sitting in a dark room lit by a groovy screensaver on an overlarge computer screen, Arshad Goods shared his perspective with a group of St. Louis creatives. His soft voice made fingers used to writing stop and rest. His honesty made skepticism melt. Arshad Goods is a representation of the full expression of an artist. He performs without fear and speaks with tenderness. Check out some of his thoughts and regain some of your own balance below.
For the record, do you do anything else besides make music?
No, I don’t. I just make music, that’s it.
I didn’t know that. You know a lot of other creatives, they have other avenues that they take as well. You said before that you had been rapping your whole life. What made you actually start sharing it with people?
I made a bucket list when I came back home from grad school at Purdue in Indiana. When I came back home, I made a list, twenty-five things I wanted to do before I turned 25. And one of them was to make a project. It was really just for me. I ain’t really care about people hearing it. I just wanted to do it. That eventually turned into me taking it seriously after some friends told me I should take it seriously. Then I saw a Batman movie.
Whichever the second one was that had Bane. Homie was in the prison in the basement and he’s talking to old man about how to get out. It was like just a well. You just gotta climb out that joint with a rope. He’s like how do you do it. And the old man is telling him you gotta do it like this kid that got out. And the kid did it with no rope. It spoke to me hellas cause I got some degrees, some things to fall back on as people would say, but I really had to start thinking like, “Nah, ain’t no plan B.” It’s like succeed or die. And once you accept that, things become way easier as far as decisions.
For sure. What is your creative process like?
I be banking on God. Like, its experiences, what happens. It can be the smallest thing. I think I was going down Washington one time and passed the Hundred Black Man building and it made me start going off on some stuff. So yeah, it’s just life. Whatever happens in my day to day, or a vibe that might get created in the studio. It’s not often premeditated so much.
How has your spirituality influenced your creative process? You’re one of the few rappers I know who I wouldn’t flat out call your music gospel, but there’s definitely a lot of heavy spiritual influences clear in your music.
Yeah, I get caught up on duality a lot. So with that, I have these concepts of good and evil, like God and Satan kind of stuff. But sometimes it’s just representations of things and no so much me speaking in a spiritual sense.
What have you learned about yourself through the creative process?
You don’t hit a home run every time. And it’s a humbling experience to accept that you have to keep working to get a joint sometimes. Everyone ain’t gone be a knock out the park. Learning that you’re not perfect and you’re still growing. That’s helped my work ethic and humbled me a lot.
What is the most important lesson or factor you want people to get from your art? Why do you create?
Be true to you, I would say. I feel like a vessel half the time. You asked my inspiration. It’s life. So a lot of times I’m just speaking how things come to me. So I would just say, people just doing them. Whatever that is just do it, and do it because you feel like you should do it. Don’t do it because somebody told you.
What memorable responses have you gotten from your work?
Randomly coming up on people. I’ll be honest: I pigeonholed my crowd at first. So, seeing people I wouldn’t expect coming up to me and saying “I tell her lies, I tell her lies, I tell her lies”, g, like that’ll trip me out. People coming to me after shows and showing love. The amount of love I got off of this project was the biggest surprise. I wasn’t expecting that.
Name something you don’t love, and why.
Closed mindedness. I think being open to people’s ideas, I think you get a piece of truth in everything.
What is your dream project?
Three stacks (Andrew 3000) has to be involved in some way. It would mess around and be a visual with some cool music in it. It might not even be straight music. But I would, like, want to work with people I’ve looked up to my whole life. Jay. Nas. Michael Jackson gotta come back somehow. A hologram or something gotta make an appearance.
What do you think the difference is between being inspired by someone and being compared to them? Like, you listen to the people who have inspired you, but would you necessarily want to be compared to any other artist?
I don’t think any artist wants to be compared to anyone. I mean, you can call it ego. You can call it whatever. But, like, you wanna feel like you’re giving yourself and there’s something unique about yourself. I think comparisons are cool when you’re talking about, like if I play basketball and you compare me to Jordan. That means I must be doing something well at least. I guess it could be flattering in that sense. But I think every artist wants to be their own.
What’s the most unique thing you want people to get from you? What makes you different from anyone else pursuing their music?
I mean nothing's different about me making music. That’s like a common thing. But as far as my story, I think people I have come in contact with, and nah, nobody can replicate that because nobody’s lived that life.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When can we expect a project to be released?
Dot dot dot dot dot. (Laughs)
When it’s done?
When it’s done. I’m working on it now. I can say that.
Follow Arshad Goods on all social media platforms and get into his last release, Black Sunday, available on SoundCloud.