We interviewed rapper Scessions after joining his weekly, collaborative free-styling event at The Bassment, his virtual club in Somnium Space Web.
He dominated the mic with vibey beats and expertly improvised rhymes all evening. He welcomed guests from the audience to throw down some bars as well. A couple of the artists included were streamer/singer/gamer Dora (Twitch.tv/essence130) and rapper TikTak (Instagram.com/unlockthebars_uncut).
That night, the virtual Somnium Space venue hosted visitors from New York to Florida to Nevada. Though far from each other, everyone partied together, dancing to the music, able to talk to each other through mics and animated gestures like clapping, dancing, bowing, and laughter.
In a fun collaboration, the audience threw out random words in the chat while the artists onstage improvised expertly-poetic lines incorporating them. Attendees also had the option to turn on face cams (today, the futuristic new hologram feature is available too for anyone with a green screen). The fun went on for over 3 hours, with new faces joining in throughout.
Scessions’ Somnium Space venue featured NFT art and a mural honoring hip-hop icons like Mary J. Blige, DMX, Common, and P. Diddy. In the back, there was an intimate, lifelike bar where gamers danced on the counter and chatted. The dance floor, packed with shoulder-to-shoulder Ready Player Me avatars, faced the stage where the performers entertained next to gigantic CG speakers and an interactive web browser viewable within the virtual space.
To find out more about Scessions and his fun and groundbreaking virtual music project, follow him on Twitter here and check out my interview with him below:
Oly: When did you start rapping? Who are your influences?
Scessions: I first started rapping when I got to Florida in 2001 after moving down from the Midwest (Indiana).
My main form of expression as a youth was drawing but at 17, I shifted to music after the first day meeting my best friend in the hallways of high school. I approached him and asked what he was listening to and he said himself. At the time that was so mind-boggling and for some reason it sparked an interest in me to try my hand at rapping.
I began with production and writing and I noticed I had a natural talent with rhythm and presence. Now I was not good at freestyling at all and was really embarrassed to even try or continue after I started. After a troublesome time I decided to try and pursue music to stay out of trouble.
Everyone in our circle would always have one person they would chill with or were closest to, but my best friend and I both stayed to our own, so me being new and him always just writing and making music we began working together recording in his closet booth. We made videos performed at music venues and formed a group “Feature Ink” that would eventually allow me to learn engineering, videography and a lot of aspects of music. We opened up for big acts; Uncle Kracker, Slaughterhouse, Cutt Calhoun, Hed (PE), going to professional studios and small self made tours pursuing our dream of music.
The group momentum waned and everyone eventually went their own ways but we always kept in touch. Later after that separation I joined a rock band to experiment outside of hiphop and that experience was detrimental to my growth as an artist. I bought my first looper BOSS RC-505 and which led me to create Sidetrackt and started freestyling on street corners locally (which was influenced by Dub-Fx) I also went to freestyle cyphers weekly in my area which was my only way to express because of life priorities at the time, but that would play a big role that circles back to my VR Sypher.
Eventually I would make my own path with streaming on Twitch and learning a lot about broadcasting, video elements, and streaming tools, using the culmination of all my talents without relying on everyone else. That showed me the true reason why I wanted to do this: interaction & community support. Now I am incorporating VR into the mix to connect directly with my fans and provide a means to express yourself freely (freestyle).
My influences are from life and the constant struggles we face, but musically there is a list different musicians and genres that have molded my styles. From artists in the 80s-90s to rappers; DMX, bone thugs, Eminem, Tupac, Big L, Tech N9ne, Kendrick Lamar, and all coasts of hiphop as I got older. Other big influences come from all eras from 60s to Jazz/ electronic- dubstep.
Oly: How did you find Somnium Space? Where do you see it going in the next few years?
Scessions: I found Somnium Space from Blake Hotz who I met through the producer community on Twitch… He always believes this to be the next phase for us and at the time it didn’t click as to the true potential of what SS can provide… One day we both went in so he could show me around and he took me to Artur’s Tron Disco Club. I was instantly hooked and seen the potential of what was possible.
After we got out of SS we brain stormed, came up with an idea to do the first SS music video. I wrote the song in 15 min, sent stems to our mutual producer friend Avdre and we now have the first rap video “Gimme that Mic” in Somnium Space to advertise and show the limitless potential.
I believe Somnium Space is headed in a great direction right now- everyone that I’ve met in that community is open armed and seems to be excited, pushing the platform to its fullest- everyone creating their own parcels, communities, galleries, [and] NFTs that are changing the game. We are spearheading a movement to create meme tours, unrivaled interaction and communication networks for all to benefit from. I think it will be the main platform that will expand to be number one for VR. Simply by the fact it is the only persistent VR world right now (which means we’re all in the same area at once.) So the potential for growth is already there we just need to keep expanding and implanting new fronts on how we associate, interact, conduct business, and now with blockchain the power can be in the hands of the people. We are… providing the door, it’s on those who want to join to walk through the door.
Oly: What inspired you to start your virtual, open free styling event? Can you tell us more about your project?
Scessions: The reason I started using Somnium Space is the same reasoning behind why I began streaming; it’s the future of boundless interaction. The initial inspiration was sort of obscure and random but it ties into what motivates me to want to invest my time in the Metaverse. A friend I knew was going to Twitch-con in 2019 and I had a eureka moment that told me to start streaming because if it’s getting that big to have a conference then it has to be the future of entertainment. So I studied and gathered all my equipment and forced myself to do a Sidetrackt 70x which is “70 streams in 70 days” to force myself to learn to stream and make all my mistakes before transitioning to Twitch.
During my first year on Twitch I went to a friends Discord party for New Years. It was awkward but it triggered something inside of me and I realize there is a huge gap between the steamer and the viewer. Most viewers are just a text to the streamer with no ability to customize or show your personality and the one dimensional interaction is not on the same level as it only pertains to the streamer.
The goal has always been to build a community, find different ways of interacting, curating new products directly to the consumer, & showcasing talent.
Our platforms are there for everyone. I am going to be onboarding more and more people as it expands but ultimately narrowing the gap between the viewer and the streamer is what excited me. Somnium Space is the perfect platform that aligns with my aspirations.
The project is in its infant stages, but for only being its 2nd week this has already had great turn outs of people coming by to explore this new venture with me. It’s a new way of watching concerts “in person” with like minded people that can express themselves without the anxiety of real life interaction (sort of). I want it to be like going to a venue with different people you meet up with for a few hours weekly. The point of my brand Sidetrackt is express [and] inspire myself and fellow artists and evoke emotion in the listener. So with SS I want this to be my next phase and change the evolution of concert going and socializing with added elements of my imagination. Similar to Twitch, people can come watch their favorite streamer but the key aspect is to being able to talk directly thru your mic, walk around, and see people’s webcam real-time to put a face to the viewer.
The venue started because during a daily meet up we do at 4:30 pm est I was walking around with Denevraut and we stumbled across a parcel… and it had a mic in there. So I played a beat and freestyle which influenced Artur to want me to host an event. So after a revamp of the comedy club we now host “Sidetrackt Sypher in THE BASSMENT” Monday’s at 10pm est #parcel 4730
Oly: What is your vision for your future?
Scessions: The future I see with SS is owning an XL parcel, onboarding fans & talented artists, and working with a team of developers to make a “creators” platform which will include: contests, workshops for music, challenges to encourage confidence and tipping to incentivize people to consider stepping outside of their comfort zone and grow with us a community. Eventually our self sustained system can provide it’s own DOA (decentralized autonomous organization) utilizing all forms of assets from NFTs to crypto currencies to shift the scales towards the artists and keep providing a venue to showcase creators & talent.
We will be in charge of our future with the ability to own our own products, brand and time instead of having to sell the majority of publishing and percentages of our income to corporations/ conglomerates, record labels and distributors. I want to have a company that aligns with positive values, encourages entrepreneurship, and facilitates our own economic infrastructure that will benefit the creator direct to consumer (fans) and continue exploring the onset of great features the SS team has already made and will provide in years to come.