For Baltimore-born emcee Verb Tec, it all began junior year in high school.
During that year, the burgeoning artist learned some of the early intricacies of writing rap verses. He started counting bars (or figuring out how many beats and how much space there was to rhyme over). With that window open, he jumped through to the other side.
“For me,” Verb Tec tells American Songwriter, “it’s a reflection of soul, blues, and protest music packaged into a classic golden-era hip-hop aesthetic.”
Today, Verb Tec is based in Philadelphia, as is his collaborative partner, producer Vanderslice. Together, the two worked on the delightful track “Time Is of the Essence” and its accompanying video.
“It’s a song about home and grace,” says Verb Tec. “This song is about what it means to be grateful and appreciate the moment and also a reminder to keep working on being the best version of yourself. Don’t settle for the labels that society and others have for you.”
Verb Tec says Vanderslice sent him the beat for the song and he was able to write the first verse on the track immediately. Then he plugged in a couple of other verses he had in his back pocket and boom, done.
“I filmed part of the video of this song at my grandmother’s house in Baltimore,” the emcee says, “which has always been home to me in the larger sense because it’s always been that stable, familiar place. This was the first song we recorded during our first studio session for the [latest] record. The energy was high and joyous. This was mid-2021 when we thought the pandemic was coming to an end. We were wrong.”
Verb Tec says his favorite lyric in the song is: Giving into fear that ain’t a life at all / the price could fall on your options if you don’t write the call.
“Fear is a big deterrent for most people in actually taking a chance to do something different in life, and it’s just a reminder,” he says. “The line about calls and options is a fly stock day trading metaphor that connects.”
In the end, it’s all about sharing the message—just like back in junior year when Verb Tec was first learning how to put his craft together. Now, he’s excelling.
“The only constant that we have in life is time,” he says. “Be deliberate and wise in how you manage it in life. You also can’t take time for granted because it might run out on you unexpectedly.”
Photo courtesy Verb Tec and Elixir Media Group