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New album from Bloomington's Darius utilizes music as therapy

Darius' new album "Perception" will drop March 23
Darius
Darius' new album "Perception" will drop March 23.

The new album from Darius called “Perception” continues the idea of music as therapy he’s used on previous releases. The Bloomington-based rapper fleshes out thoughts on falling in love, becoming a father, and dealing with detractors.

He spoke with WGLT's Jon Norton about the album ahead of its March 23 release.

WGLT: The title track is a good start. You open with “be true to yourself, be true to myself.” Does this apply to how you live, your music, or both?

Darius: The chorus comes from a conversation I had with my mom. My mom has always said ‘no matter what happens in life, whether it’s music or not, always stay true to who you are.’ And so, it’s easy for us to, you know, follow the next trend, and follow other people or do this because it's popular, you lose yourself in it. And we see people do that all the time, whether it's celebrities, we see athletes do it, we see activists that end up going down certain routes. And then you lose yourself along the way, and when you get to the end of the end of the road, you are now a product of what you try to be. So now you're at the very bottom because you didn't stay true to yourself. You're the remains of what you try to be.

I cannot lie Gotta question myself at times
My clock wrong in the moment
Accountability I show it
In other words I be growing
To be a better man than my daddy was
Not affectionate I really need his hug
Trauma bond when I'm seeking for his love
Selling trauma for a charge I'm the plug
This world is so wicked I would be foolish to pick it
Can't end up burning cause I'm determine
To keep man away from furnace
Its more urgent that I learn it
I cannot save any person
Self conscious because my purpose
I'm selfish know what worth is
I'm worthless when I'm not searching
- From “Perception” by Darius

How difficult is it to figure out who you are and to be true to who you are?

I understand who I am by understanding the person that created me, right? So more so like a God thing. When I understand who God is, I understand who I am. And that allows me to stay within my lane and not get outside of that lane. When I understand who God is and why he made me, it’s ‘OK, so you didn't make me to be like everyone else. You made me to be different?’ Or am I to trying to be the same as everyone else? I was not meant that way. Once I realized who he is, I realized who I am.

"Bad Guy" is another song on this new album.

Yeah.

That’s a really catchy song.

Yeah.

Well, you can sing along with.

Yeah, absolutely.

But it has a thread that people are critical of you. Maybe they're jealous. Maybe they're … whatever. And that seems to be a thread that runs through a lot of this album, as well as the last album.

Yeah. Since I've come into music, I have faced a lot of that … people being jealous of me because of my success. And not just music, but just in life, like people being jealous of success I have in life, jealous of success I have in music. I've had people lying about stuff that I did. And it's like, ‘You're painting me as a bad guy. Why is that? Is it because of your jealousy? Is it because you don't like just the person that I am I? Or is it because of you wanting to glorify yourself in spreading that lie or whatever?’ The false reality is about me is bad guy. I tell them all what I've been because I'll tell the whole story. I look at it as whoever is going to paint me as a bad guy, they are going to tell the story from just their side, which I said in the lyrics I said …

And told a story that is one side
It sounds like a cosign
To allow the truth to die
- From “Bad Guy” by Darius

That's a real thing, because ‘you're gonna tell the story from just your side but let me tell it from both sides now. Because if we explain everything that happens, whatever you try to paint me as, that's gonna get washed away. Because now the truth comes out. The truth is gonna set anybody free. So now that the truth is out, your ego is now going to get deflated. Because now you don't have anybody rooting for you now because the truth is out. The person that you tried to paint as the bad guy, now it's like, hold on. He wasn't the bad guy.’

Michael Jordan is famous for using that (slights) as motivation. Is it similar with you?

Oh, 100%. I tell my wife all the time. Like Michael Jordan, I have a headspace when it comes to music at times, because sometimes I'll let that fuel me to make even better music. Or even to go harder. What I'm doing is, ‘okay, you said I was this, this and that. Alright, cool, since that's how you feel. I'm gonna show you better than I can tell you,’ because even with my music, I remember when people didn't believe in me. This is you letting them know not to be egotistical, but this is to let them know, ‘Yo, you were wrong about what you said. You said I couldn't do X-Y-Z. You're right. I can't just do X-Y-Z. I did A-B-C-D-E-F-G. I did everything that you said I could not do. The voice

Let’s go to another song on the album. "Act Right" is … I'm taking this as a love song.

Yeah, it's a love song.

And you have some news since last time we talked.

Yeah. So, I have a wife now and I have a son on the way, so baby KJ. He's going to be a Darius like his father but we're going to name him KJ. you know, King. This is going to be his middle name. So that's a song that I wrote about my wife. I was like, you know, I don't have a lot of love songs. But you know what? I want to be very diverse as an artist. I'm like, I'm gonna write a song about my wife and I'm gonna just see how it turns out. I wrote it and she was like, That's fire! I love it! She fell in love with it. She was like ‘you should really put that out’ I was like ‘I got you.’

She gone make me feel so good that I don't act right
She call me daddy cause she said that's what I act like
She show me angles just to see that's what that back's like
She gimme love when it don't seem like I could act right
- From “Act Right” by Darius

It's always nice when the subject of a love song loves that love song, right?

It gives it more fuel. Definitely.

What are you most proud of on this brand new album?

Same with the last project: the vulnerability. That's what it comes down to, because this project has another easter egg in it. And it's going to tease my next project which is "Note to Self." So, that vulnerability I talked about in the last verse. It's going to let people know about the next project that I have coming up.

Darius’ new album “Perception” drops March 23. He performs at Nightshop in downtown Bloomington on March 25.

You can also hear his music on WGLTs Highway 309, available 24/7 at WGLT.org and weekends on 89.1FM.

Jon Norton is the program director at WGLT and WCBU. He also is host of All Things Considered every weekday.
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