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Photography by Caleb Foster | Words by Raya Biasca | Styled by Trey Wilson | Grooming by Obie “Mizzay” Cuts

He shares that his initial foray into music began in a school band. “I played the clarinet and my boy, Jimmy, he said like ‘Yo! We should start rapping!’ And then I started rapping and we formed a rap group.”

As he began to explore the art of rapping, Passport General experienced an exhilarating sense of self-expression and connection to the music that would ultimately shape his artistic identity.

In the early stages of his rap career, he found himself part of a rap group where he went by the moniker “General.” However, a significant turning point came when a fellow member of the group shared some valuable insights. Recognizing the potential challenges that could arise if the rap group disbanded, this friend advised him to consider a more distinctive and lasting rap name.

The suggestion that stood out was “Passport.” It carried connotations of boundless exploration and global connectivity, a reflection of his artistic aspirations. Adding a youthful touch, his associate recommended names like “Young Passport,” envisioning a name that would resonate well with his age and artistic direction.

Making a decisive move, he embraced the concept of “Passport” and merged it with his existing moniker. His original name, “the General,” underwent a subtle yet impactful transformation. He dropped the definite article “the,” allowing the name “Passport General” to encapsulate his musical identity.

Photo shot at Dopely Studios

“Nobody actually calls me Passport General; they call me Sporty. Sport is short for Passport.”

For him, his creative process ignites with an insatiable hunt for the perfect beat, often sourced from YouTube or received directly from producers via Instagram. Once the artist’s discerning ear latches onto a beat that resonates, it becomes the driving force during car rides, setting the backdrop for the birth of the track’s central hook. This crucial element of the songwriting process is captured promptly through voice recording, allowing for the preservation of the initial flow and melody.

Upon returning home, and if time permits, Passport General delves further into the creative realm, sculpting the verses and expanding upon the core idea. He said that he rarely enters the studio with a blank canvas, a testament to the meticulousness that defines his approach. The value of studio time, both artistically and financially, is deeply understood, leading to a preference for entering the studio armed with a well-crafted foundation, ensuring each moment is optimized.

The artist’s most cherished song from their collection is “Day Ones.” When talking about how the song was made, the artist shared that at the time he was making that song, he just felt like some of his day one friends just didn’t support him anymore like ‘the new people that came across.’ That was what’s on his mind at the time of creating it.

When asked what he hopes people take away from his music, he said:
“I just want them to listen to this and say, ‘This is great quality music.’ Like, as of today, quality isn’t valued anymore. People just want to make quick songs, and they wanna scream, and they wanna follow the pattern of trendy stuff. I just create the music that I like and what I wanna hear, and I try not to follow anybody else. So, I really just want quality good music – from my beats to how I sound.”

“When I listen to music, I want to be able to listen to it and like how it sounds. So, everything is important to me – from how I say it, when I say it, to the beats. I want people to listen to my music and appreciate the quality,” he added.

He describes rap as different from other genres in that sense that “they want a certain age they should be doing certain things; they shouldn’t be rapping, or they just put a lifespan to a rapper. In other genres, they can sing and go on tour and sing all their old songs, but for rap, I feel like they just want to put a lifespan on you.”

Photo shot at Dopely Studios

For him, the best thing about being a rapper is that: “I don’t argue with anyone. Nowadays with Instagram, it’s so easy for people to have an opinion about you, and it’s so easy for them to say negative things about you. Some people feel the need to defend themselves, going on Instagram Live and having these disputes and debates. I never have to do that because I can just put it in my music. Whatever I’m feeling – life, arguments, relationships – I can just put it into music and get it off my chest. It’s like a stress reliever, like going to the gym.”

“You can express yourself through your music,” he added.

Passport General pointed out that the biggest misconception about rappers is, “That we’re thugs and gangsters.”

“I’m a musician, I’m an artist,” he expressed.

Talking about artists he’d like to collaborate with in the future, he mentioned Drake, SZA, and Lil Baby.
In his perspective, he holds JAY-Z’s verse in “Diamonds Are Forever” alongside Kanye West as a standout, describing it as a remarkable and iconic verse. When prompted about whether he ever came across a song that he wished he had created himself, he pointed out Roddy Ricch’s track “Die Young” as one that resonated with him.

When asked about his childhood role model, he mentioned Kobe Bryant.

“I just feel like he’s the greatest basketball player ever. He came straight from high school – he was a kid, still, that his mother had to sign his contract because he was 17. He was even going to prom with celebrities.”

As an adult, he views Drake as his role model.

When asked about the best piece of advice he received, he said: “Keep grinding, nobody cares.”

This wise guidance reminds him that putting in continuous effort and staying dedicated are crucial for achieving success. It shows that your own determination and hard work are more important than what others might think about you.

One of the guiding principles that resonates deeply with Passport General is the age-old adage: “Treat people how you want to be treated.” This philosophy serves as a moral compass, driving his interactions and decisions.

To anyone who’s starting out in the music industry, here’s Passport General’s advice:
“Just do what you feel is right. Anyone’s advice is always good; listen to people’s advice and take bits and pieces of what works for you. But there’s really no blueprint in this.”

Photo shot at Dopely Studios

“I just feel like you have to do what benefits your career, because what works for me isn’t always gonna work for you. You gotta follow your heart, instinct, and gut, and just do what’s best for your brand,” he mentioned.

He also mentioned to check out underrated rap artists like Splash, Pharell The God, Young Legacy, Kinopif, Maui Mac, and Polo Hayes.

It’s evident that his journey in the realm of hip-hop is just beginning to unfold. With a unique blend of authenticity, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to quality, Passport General stands poised to make an indelible mark on the hip-hop world. His fresh voice, innovative approach, and genuine passion for his craft set him apart as an artist to watch.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in Passport General’s musical odyssey.

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