Earlier this year, Baltimore's manic, octave-switching JuegoTheNinety dropped his third solo project, Abandoned Mansions, which was yet another addition to his brutally personal rap catalog. The project's lead single, "When I Was A Boy", revisited a story of his father letting him fall to teach him a life lesson and touched on his insecurities with his rap career (being bluffed by A&R's, freezing up when freestyling, etc.) Like many of his tracks, his emotion climbs as time moves on, making his sentiments contagious as you listen. Now, almost a year after the single was released, Juego has a video to go along with it which features old footage of him, his brother, friends and dad. Through email, we briefly spoke about the song and video's significance:
At the start of “When I Was A Boy,” you question yourself a lot. Is that typical for you to self-analyze and is it helping you improve as an artist?
JuegoTheNinety: Yeah. You have to analyze yourself. Especially when you're trying to express yourself as honestly as possible. The whole purpose of talking to other people is to get to know them, but when you talk to yourself, you're crazy. How else do you really know you if you don't ask yourself questions about you? Rapping just makes me answer.
What does reliving this old footage of yourself rapping say to you about the path you're on right now?
I look at the footage as the birth of JuegoTheNinety and 9BMC. Not from the music standpoint, but more so the entertainment and brotherhood side. The earliest footage in the video is from 1998. It's from a movie called "Killers Arrive" that me, my father, and my brother (Witty Rock) wrote. My father directed it and shot it and me and my brother acted. Me and Rock used to always make movies with the camcorder after that but that started it. Then you see in the footage from like 2005 in the video we're freestyling all the time. Back then it was all about creating and having fun with your people and ain't shit change since then except wanting to get paid for it.
As it does for many people, your family and personal turmoil could easily turn you into a hermit. What is it about aggressively rapping that serves as some sort of salvation for you instead of getting out those emotions some other way?
I just feel like the topics that end up being typed into my phone need to have the matching tone to make you feel how they make me feel. It's how I hear it when I think about those type of things. Frustration's an emotion that pushes you. Lucky for me, there's a lot of frustrated people out here that feel me.
Watch "When I Was A Boy" below: