Hip-Hop Artist Kursive, who lives in Maryland, is the 5th incredibly inspiring interview in our Rebirth series. He has dealt with much tragic loss in his young life by channeling his efforts into artistic expression through music, by practicing humility and gratitude, and through entrepreneurship via his record company, an apparel brand, and other businesses. Kursive recently wrote a song titled “Reminds Me of You” which has helped him express his grief and loss. The song is dedicated to his brother, and is also written for his cousin, his best friend, his mother and another good friend, all of whom he has lost. You will hear the words to this song during this interview!
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- Kursive’s childhood including abandonment by his mother, who was addicted to drugs.
- What inspired Kursive not to turn to drugs as he grew up.
- Kursive’s journey towards Rebirth through both music and entrepreneurship.
- Why Kursive has an attitude of humility and gratitude despite the challenges and traumas in his life.
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS KURSIVE:
- When you lost your mom, how old were you, who brought you up and how did you cope?
- How have your attitudes of humility and gratitude helped you in your life?
- Would you please grace us with a few verses of your song “Reminds Me of You?”
**WARNING – EXPLICIT LYRICS**
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Rebirth Series: Kursive – An Inspiring Hip-Hop Artist Who Has Dealt With Much Tragic Loss In His Young Life By Channeling His Efforts Into Artistic Expression And Through Entrepreneurship
I hope this finds each of you very well. I am delighted to have this opportunity to interview the hip-hop artist, Kursive, who could not be a more ideal contributor to our special show. Kursive is speaking to us from Maryland, and he is so incredibly inspiring. He has dealt with much tragic losses in his life by channeling his efforts into artistic expression through music, practicing humility and gratitude, and through entrepreneurship via his record company, apparel brand, and other businesses.
Kursive wrote a song titled Reminds Me Of You, which has helped him express his grief and loss. The song is dedicated to his brother and written for his cousin, his best friend, his mother, and another good friend, all of whom he has lost. I can hardly wait to interview Kursive about his challenging journey toward rebirth, and perhaps he will even bless us with a verse or two from his song, Reminds Me Of You. This is surely going to be an unforgettable, special interview that will be incredibly meaningful to each of us. Kursive, a very special and warm welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me.
Let’s begin with this question. Please tell us about your childhood and the abandonment by your mother due to her addiction to drugs. Was your mom your first significant loss? How old were you? Who brought you up, and how did you cope?
My mother is still alive, but she left my life at a young age. She had battled her demons from about when I was five. She had drug problems and addiction. My dad took us out of that life. She was having issues. He raised us. From a young age, I knew I was her favorite from what I’ve been told. She always had an attachment to me, and maybe I had that for her. Looking at it now because of some of the traumas and issues I’ve dealt with my attachment from a young age, I didn’t have a real solid mother figure in my life. I look at my grandmother more as my mother. She was a woman in my life that helped raise me.
Is your grandmother still with us?
Yes. She’s around the street from me.
She must be so proud of you.
She wants me to come mow the grass.
She wants to see you even if it’s mowing the grass.
That’s my rock. For most of my life, my grandmother was a big part of it. I lived with her back and forth over the years.
She helped to save you in a lot of ways. Is she your dad’s mom?
Yes, my dad’s mother. My mother, I understood at an early age, had her ailments and problems with drugs. I saw things at a young age that people my age shouldn’t have seen. It set the path and the world I lived in.
I understand that. You don’t see your mother often anymore. She’s out of your life now.
No, I saw her at my brother’s funeral, and I wish her the best. I don’t want to speak ill of her. I know addiction is a problem, and it’s not easy. Not a lot of people make it out. She has survived a lot, and I’m sure she still has opportunities to change. I know she still battles with her demons.
You’ve also had very significant other losses. Considering you lost both your brother and a cousin to drugs, tell us about your other losses and what inspired you not to turn to drugs yourself. It would’ve been so easy for you to fall into that also.
I was on a path to doing drugs at an early age.
What do you call an early-age, Kursive?
I think sixth grade. Eleven was the first time I smoked weed and drank. I was trying to grow up too fast. Maybe it was because of some of the things I’ve seen and the place I was. A lot of kids were sheltered, or I just had experienced more at an early age. My brother wasn’t smoking weed when I was. He was a couple of years older. I remember the first time he ever smoked and did things like that. I was the one that was like, “I already know about this. You want to use this?”
I was on that path. I was trying to grow up too fast. I wanted to be a grownup. I felt like that. I was a little bit more independent. My dad had a lot going on. He was a great man. My dad was working very hard to provide. He put himself in a rough situation along with my mother when we were little, but he dug himself out of that. He was constantly digging himself out of that and working very hard.
It sounds like he’s been an incredible role model to you.
I love my father. He’s a great man. He’s inspired me, given me a lot of hope, and shown me that he was always there for me, always giving me good words and helping me dig myself out of some situations. Around 11 or 12 years old, I started doing drugs and getting drunk, and, at 13 or 14, going into high school, I started taking pills and doing things that were a lot riskier.
My brother was a blessing to me at that point because he also was in that pattern, and I saw him spiral a lot quicker than I was. I could see it from a perspective that’s what’s going on. I looked up to him, and I could see some of the ailments and things he was dealing with when it came to his addiction. It made me more driven toward other things. I was constantly like, “You shouldn’t be doing this and that.” It made me realize I shouldn’t be doing that. That saved me in a lot of ways.
You pulled yourself off it. That’s fantastic. Tell me where you learned about humility and gratitude because you have so much of that. How have they helped you in your life? You could not have been. You could have been mad at the circumstances you grew up with. You could have been mad that your mom wasn’t around. You could have been mad at all the things you saw, but instead, you became humble and grateful. What accounts for that?
I don’t know where I got this from, and who knows who quotes what anymore. You’ll see one quote from Einstein, and the next day is from John F. Kennedy, the same quote. It’s like, “Life is like a bike. If you stop pedaling, you lose your balance.” That’s a big thing for me. You just have to keep going, dealing with the rejection and dealing with the problems that come. You can’t get down to yourself. You can’t fall. You got to keep getting up. You have to keep fighting. It’s a constant thing.
Are those messages you learned from the society around you, or does your dad practice that also? To pick up that attitude, I know a lot of people in the world who have a lot of wonderful things, but they’re not grateful.
My dad for sure, I’m grateful for him. I’m grateful for his persistence. He dug himself out of a real rough situation for us. He was constantly working, trying new things, paying the bills, paying his debts, and trying to keep us happy. It rubbed off on me.
You talked about them. How many of them were you?
I have three sisters and two brothers, and I have a half-sister and a half-brother.
You’re never truly alone.
A half-sister and half-brother I haven’t met, but the closest to me are 3 sisters and my 2 brothers, one that passed away.
What number were you in the grouping?
I’m the second oldest. My brother was the oldest.
You rebirthed yourself through music and entrepreneurship. It is amazing what you do. Could you regale our readers with your path? First of all, about music and how old you were when you started with music and your entrepreneurship. You have an apparel company. By the way, I once worked as a buyer for Macy’s, so that fascinates me. You have a music company. You have other things. Tell us all about what you’ve done. You’re a young guy.
I’ve always been inspired by music. My dad was into music, like grunge, ’90s rock, and hip-hop. He got me into that. Me and my brother, when we were young, we’d steal the CDs he didn’t want us to listen to that were explicit, and we’d listen over things like that. I remember my first experience with music was I would listen. I remember we had these MP3 players before the iPod. They had half a gig on them, and we put music on. At the time, where my father lived, we moved from a place called Rockville to Frederick County. We had a long driveway, and I’d have to walk down to the bus. I put the headphones on, and one day I was like, “I could do that,” the way they talk and the way they say words. I started rapping.
How old were you then, Kursive?
About 11 or 12.
Your whole life is in front of you. It’s very exciting. Look at what you’re doing at your age now. It’s amazing. You also told me that you started music by playing the flute.
I didn’t play it well.
You were very young with that.
I don’t know why I wanted to play the flute. I just remember that I got a flute. It was 6 or 7. We got a flute, and I left it at Rita’s. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Rita’s. It’s an ice cream place.
I’m very familiar with Rita’s. We’re in Jersey. We’ve got Rita’s.
I left it at Rita’s and never saw it again, so I didn’t learn how to play it. My first instrument, my sister learned guitar at an early age, maybe 11 or 12. When I was 19 or 20, I was like, “If she could play it, I got to play it now.” I started picking it up, and I played songs I liked on the guitar.
You do arrangements for other people too, don’t you? You write songs. You have a record company.
I make music mainly like a hybrid of hip-hop and rock. I’ve done it all. I started my first studio in 2014, and it was just for me originally.
Were you like 22 or something?
Yes, I was unemployed. I had some money I saved up from a job. I was like, “I’m going to take my passion seriously.” I invested in some studio equipment. I got involved and became obsessed with mixing and the whole engineering side of music. I started making music, like beats and production.
What’s fascinating to me is you never had a formal education with any of that. You just picked it up, which is amazing.
I got my real estate license out of high school, but that was it. I didn’t pursue it. I started a business. I met somebody in class who was cleaning out foreclosed homes at the time. I didn’t even become a realtor. Instead, I started a foreclosure business and cleaned out the foreclosed homes, which being a realtor would be lucrative right now, the way the market is.
You do all this with music, and then you have an apparel company. Do we all want to go online and buy your clothing? Are you making it? Are you repping other manufacturers? What do you do?
It’s an apparel company called Metropollens. I just have a shirt. It’s a CBD. I don’t know if you know medical marijuana. It’s just cool-style shirts and stuff like that.
I think everyone is now googling Metropollens. Do you have a website?
I’m in the process of creating it. We created it on Instagram, and it took off. It’s got about 15,000 followers. I’m revamping the artwork now. My cousin is an amazing artist. He’s working on some designs for me, and we’re going to release some new stuff.
That’s so great. Do you get your raw materials from where? I was in retailing, so some of the things we did came from the Orient. Some of the things we did came from inside the United States. Are you going abroad, or all of this right now is coming from?
Right up the street from me. I started a construction business. When I did that, I linked with a company, Custom Imprints. I became friends with them. I was like, “I want to give you more business.” They helped me with embroidery and screen printing. I will stick with them for now. I know I could probably save a bunch of money going overseas or cut some of the profit margins.
This is fascinating to me because I have a musical background and an entrepreneurial background, so when I’m talking to you, I’m going back to some of my roots. It’s amazing. I want to make sure I know of all these businesses you’ve been in, like real estate, construction, apparel, and music. Am I leaving anything out? Only at 29 years old. Anything else?
I started a high-end residential window-washing company. That was my first company because of my father. My father started a high-end residential window-washing company called Glass Hack. This was years ago. It was the first job I had. I worked for him. He was tired of always working paycheck to paycheck, and he wanted to do something where it was on his own time. He got that going, and I worked for him. Me and him got into an argument, and I was like, “I’m going to start my own.”
I did well, but I was distracted at the time. I wasn’t as motivated when I was eighteen, but that was the first company I started.
I got to tell you something. At eighteen, you were more motivated than a lot of other eighteen-year-olds I know. That’s amazing. Would you grace us with a few verses of your song, Reminds Me Of You?
I’m not used to it without a beat, but we can do an acapella. It’s more like a spoken word.
The words were beautiful. To me, the most important thing for people to pick up on is your sentiment and what you’re saying with your words.
When you listen to the song, you’re going to get the expression and emotion I felt when I made it that was spot on to that reality. It is this. See some wild shit, made me really believe in God. Fear no man, cause most just put on that facade. Shit is sick how they project their insecurities, and I could not give a fuck about this whip, these clothes, this house I’m in. All that money they spend to feel appreciated ain’t going to take it with you. You ever wonder one day if they pull your car to really go on mission? What matters more is what you’re willing to build, and we don’t give a fuck what you got as long as you keep it real. Try and make it right.
Get too busy, make a living, forget to make a life. I’ve seen a rich man desperate. I’ve seen a lot of real good men sin. I’ve seen a lot of real favorite men win. God watch who acting like your friends and ain’t your friends. I pray for them. I used to think Jordan was invincible the way he played with death. I still can’t believe he gone like he with me every step. Wayne, that’s my right hand. We was brothers when we met. When he died, I cried so fucking hard. Couldn’t even catch my breath. With my girl up in eleven years, I’ll never change. I’m emotionless. I know the shit, but will don’t feel the same. Got a lot of people reaching, but they always out of range. I don’t want to break your heart because I don’t think you feel this pain now.
That’s beautiful. I love it. You can say that on this show. I was interviewing someone, and she had an emotional release while I was interviewing her. She started to cry. I said on this show that’s fine and respected, not a problem. I like the words. I can feel the rhythm in it.
You would have to listen to it.
Is there somewhere you’ve got it specifically?
It’s on SoundCloud.
It’s on SoundCloud. If people go to SoundCloud and ask for Reminds Me Of You by Kursive, they’ll find it there. Everybody, there’s your cue. What’s your message about the importance of healing, humility, and gratitude that you would like to share with the audience? Why should they work to heal their stuff and move forward in their lives when they’re in pain, they’ve had all these losses, and things are going on? What would you advise them?
I tell my guys this all the time. Things don’t get easier in life. You get stronger, and the way you deal with things is more developed. It’s important to be resilient. It’s important to take on things with a new perspective and a certain attitude in a certain mindset. When I was a kid, when my grandmother was mad, she’d yell up, “Kyle, what are you doing?” If she was like, “Kyle, what are you doing?” I knew she wasn’t mad. Those two tonalities were so different. That’s how you got to look at things as well.
If you look at your problems is like, “This is going to take me out. It’s going to bring me down,” it’s going to bring you down. If you look at it from a light like, “I’m going to overcome this. I’m going to keep moving through this,” you’re going to move through it, and you’re going to overcome it. That has become my mindset. After my brother passed away, it taught me that I could sit here and dwell in this grief, or I could use the blessings and the things he’s shared with me in a positive way. Like music, music is something we share, and it’s something that has driven me forward with the things I do in my life.
I think about all that you’ve been through, your mom, your brother died with a drug overdose, a cousin who died that way, and then you had a best friend and another friend who were in a car accident or something.
My best friend, Wayne. I knew him. I met him when I was fourteen, and we were good friends. We had a certain bond. He got into Job Corps. I was telling him about Job Corps, and he wanted to change his life. He was from a bad part of DC and a pretty bad situation growing up. He wanted to change his life around, and he went to Job Corps and became a plumber. He wasn’t into drugs anymore. He sold drugs and did drugs back in the day, but it wasn’t anything crazy like what my brother experienced. On October 31st on Halloween, I guess he took a bad pill. He thought it was like a Percocet. That’s what I was told. I still don’t know. I’ve dealt with my cousin, who died of an overdose of fentanyl. We were close. He passed away, and that was unexpected. The last 4 or 5 years have been hard when it came to losing people.
You’re amazing. Your attitude and how you’re moving forward in your life would hobble a lot of other people. Now everyone wants to connect with you and find out more about you. Where do they find you, Kursive? Can they just google Kursive, or is there a special place they should go?
@Kursive on Instagram. Instagram Is the main platform. I’ve been reaching my fans with SoundCloud. I have a couple of songs on Apple Music, but a lot more to come. I’m taking the music a bit more seriously now, as you can tell.
The sky’s the limit. It’s all ahead of you. It’s wonderful. What is the Kursive tip for finding joy in life?
Be present-minded. Day-tight Compartment by Dale Carnegie. You just have to be here and now. You have to savor your moments. Enjoy the little things. Enjoy the process.
The other stuff is going to be there, so when the good stuff is there, savor it.
I’m living my life. I used to put so much pressure on myself with business and the music. All I can do is navigate what’s going on now and be the best I can be now. That’s my motto.
It’s a very good motto. We should always follow it. Kursive, you are truly an incredible inspiration and a tremendous role model for grief and rebirth with what you’ve been through. Thank you for opening your heart and soul to all of us, including sharing your song, Reminds Me Of You. I am sure many in our audience have now opened their hearts and souls to you. Thank you from my heart for this wonderful interview and your amazing generosity of spirit.
It is so appreciated. A reminder, everyone. Make sure to follow us and like us on social at @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. As I like to say, to be continued, many blessings, and bye for now.
I’m coming back in with Kursive because we were talking after our interview. He was telling me about this incredible, amazing healing project he’s doing with his uncle that he’s playing do with his uncle. I cannot wait to have his uncle on to talk about grief and rebirth and this project. I want to talk to Kursive about that. Kursive, tell us about your uncle and the project you’re planning to do with your uncle.
My uncle is a great man, in my opinion. He’s got a good heart.
Is this your father’s brother?
No, it’s my grandmother’s sister’s son. My cousin, but we call him Uncle Rebel. His real name is Rebel Bird. He’s had a hard life, and he’s battled. He’s been successful, and he has gone to jail a couple of times. He’s had to deal with incarceration for 20 out of the last 30 years. He has spent a lot of time, but he’s rebuilding himself. He’s very inspired, and it is just a different energy.
He just got out a couple of months ago. We were talking about starting a program in memory of my brother and my cousin called the Jordan Graham Foundation. We want to give back like a charity and help people rehabilitate instead of when people get out of jail, they’ll go to a house, but they don’t know how to deal with money. They don’t know how to deal with the real world and how to communicate. Communication is a big one. Being able to communicate is a skill and a hard thing to learn.
Are you going to have tutors for them, or you’re going to be teaching them? What’s your vision?
I’m thinking of an application or something on your phone. I want to meet some of the people who study these things, the brain, how to study, how to learn, study finance, how to deal with your money, and the most effective ways to rehabilitate and fight through some of the things they’re going through. We’re developing it. It’s more of a process on the drawing board type thing.
It’s so inspiring. It talks about helping people to rebirth themselves.
He’s inspired too. He’s trying hard. He is staying sober. He is helping the family. He’s got a good spirit, and he always has. He still fights his demons, and this is good for him, giving back and being grateful for what’s going on.
He’s so lucky to have you. What a partnership.
I’m lucky to have him. I was with my brother. I’m lucky to have everybody that’s in my life. They inspire me.
Gratitude is such a beautiful part of you. Thank you very much. I want everybody to go on Instagram so that you can hear the real thing.
Thank you. I am so grateful. I wish you well. Take all those phone calls you’re getting, and bye for now.
Thanks, Irene. I had a good time with you.
My pleasure. We’re both blessed. Bye for now.
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