In a scene full of teenagers on plug beats, New York artist Bearded Legend is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
The 27 year old rapper and producer has been carving out a strong fanbase for himself over the past few years, and projects like GARMONBOZIA, LIGHTHOUSES, and the recently released SIGNS have solidified his status as one of the top talents in the underground.
With a style that lies somewhere between Ozzy Osbourne and Danny Brown, or Serj Tankian and Ghostemane, the Legend’s dark melodies and impressive vocal abilities combined with his rapid-fire flows and lyrical dexterity results in a captivating listen.
For me, one of the best things about the current hip hop landscape is seeing new artists come up that clearly listened to the same shit that I did when I was younger. When I heard ‘Cara Delevingne’ for the first time, it felt like I’d taken a strange lurch in the time-space continuum, and ended up in a dimension where Black Sabbath experimented with synthy cloud rap production instead of heavy guitar riffs – needless to say, I was fucking impressed.
After hitting him up on Twitter, we ended up having a conversation that went balls deep on the meaning behind his name, his thoughts on religion, god and aliens, the inspiration behind SIGNS, and his vision for 2018 – check it out below!
What did you listen to growing up man? Your sound is such a unique combination of different styles!
Haha thanks dude. I listened to a lot of different shit growing up. I had been introduced to classic rock/metal like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles through my parents, and I used to listen to this rock radio station all the time which played a variety of 90’s alternative rock and nu-metal.
I always bumped bands like Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Metallica, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden… all that. I also listened to pop shit, as well as rap and hip hop like The Fugees, Wu Tang, Tupac, Biggie, and Lil Wayne – especially as I got older. To this day, I still listen to all types of music, but my favorite band of all time since I was young is Nirvana.
When did you first start making music? And what made you first want to get in to it?
I’ve wanted to make it for as long as I remember. I was always playing drums on random objects, and I’d record myself singing into a tape recorder. I even wrote some shitty songs. I started playing drums in elementary school, then moved on to guitar and computer shit (I started with Reason) in high school. And from there I’ve just experimented with a bunch of stuff.
As I got older and started becoming more aware of myself, I had really enjoyed making all types of music as a form of expressing my feelings. I’d say that’s what mainly made me stick with it, even now.
Can you tell me a bit about the GRXM Mafia group you’re a part of?
GRXM MAFIA is a small collective and clothing company. In early 2017, my good friend Torchfvce asked if I would be down to start a new collective and combine our two groups (as he was in Graveyardboyz at the time, and I was in BLDG with my homie Doug G), and I was totally down. Graveyardboyz no longer exists, though I’m still in BLDG, and there are a handful of other people in GRXM right now.
We mainly wanted to start our own little movement in the underground which is more driven by positivity and integrity. A lot of people stay finessing others and highlighting a negative lifestyle, and we just want to offer an alternative group for people to follow because we aren’t about all of that, though people are obviously free to do whatever they please.
This might be self explanatory, but what inspired your name?
Believe it or not, it actually goes a lot deeper than everyone thinks. I have a little explanation that I give every time someone asks me this question, and here it is:
To me, the name ‘bearded legend’ is just a generic term for god – but I’m not saying I’m specifically a god, or putting myself above anyone. Throughout history, people have viewed powerful gods as bearded men in the sky, but since no one has ever seen one of these gods, or has been able to prove their existence, they are seen as just myths and legends – hence the term ‘bearded legend’.
If any gods do exist, they can technically look like anyone or be anything, so from my point of view, anyone is or can be bearded legend. We all have the capabilities to become uniquely powerful and inspirational beings in our own right. It’s not limited to anyone specific, myself included. The name really has nothing to do with my outward appearance.
Do you personally believe in god or any particular religion?
I definitely believe in a higher power, whether it’s gods or goddesses or the universe or whatever – I have no idea. I was raised in a catholic family, but I don’t fully agree with any particular religion. I think there are good and bad things to all religions.
The problem is that most people cannot make themselves believe in anything with an open mind, and it’s always “I’m right, you’re wrong!” But I don’t believe any one person or religion or whatever, is correct. It’s better to just take the positives out of whatever you can and admit that there’s no way to know everything. Just be a good person to be a good person, not out of fear or some book telling you to.
I don’t have problems with anyone’s beliefs as long as they have an open mind. I respect anyone out there just being a good person.
What are your thoughts on aliens – think they’re out there?
Most definitely. In my mind there is no way we are the only intelligent beings in the entire universe. I believe in parallel universes too.
It seems like you’ve picked up a lot of momentum as of late, what do you think has brought this on?
Honestly, I don’t really know. I’ve been going pretty hard with everything for the past year and half now, so I think my improvements and dedication are just showing through my work. It’s kinda weird though because when I decided to really start doing music as a career in 2015, I developed a theory.
So right now, I’m 27 and I’m gonna be 28 in a couple of months. Some of my favorite artists sadly passed away at 27, but to me, I kind of thought to myself: “Shit, I think 27 is gonna be a rebirth” and in my head I’ve just had it as “27 is when you’re going to begin the climb, and 28 is gonna be the start to everything you work for.” I could be wrong and it might sound weird as fuck, but that’s how it’s been in my head.
That’s interesting, as we’re seeing more and more artists come in the game super young these days – has coming in a bit more mature and wise helped you do you think?
Yeah, a shitload. If I started gaining popularity as a teenager I would be doing a lot of the same dumb shit that we see many of the younger people doing. But growing up as an average dude, and making my mistakes as an average dude, helped me learn my lessons a lot quicker and better than I would have if I had a bunch of money and some fame at a younger age.
I’m not about any drama, I know exactly what I want, I know exactly who I am, I got a much better handle on my personal and emotional issues, etc. And people gotta stop acting like 30 is old. Mad people say high school are the best years, but I’ve always thought my 30’s would be the best years. So we’ll see what’s up.
I got the anger and the partying and all that other shit out of my system already. I’m tryna chill and make some money and be happy and all that shit.
Have you been working a 9-5?
Nah. I got laid off from my last job in late 2016 and decided to just see how far I could go with my savings and go all in with music. I worked off the books a little in 2017 for a couple of months, but I’ve really just been budgeting my savings and the little amount I make from music and merchandise.
Could you tell me a bit about your latest project SIGNS? How did ‘Cara Delevingne’ come about?
SIGNS just basically represents this stage of my life, where I’ve been recognizing these signs that I feel the universe has been sending me for awhile now. Just like most of my other music, it all expresses the range of emotions I deal with.
About Cara Delevingne, that track was literally a dream I had, but in music form. One night I randomly had the dream that I describe in the song, and when I woke up I felt really happy about it, but also sad because it wasn’t real. And when I went to write about the dream in my notebook, I had first written, “Last night I had a dream about Cara Delevingne…” and I immediately thought “wow that seems like a cool line for a song” hahaha, that’s pretty much it.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2018?
I don’t really know man. I’m making my first trip out to Los Angeles next week to do a show with OmenXIII and a bunch of other talented ass people including some of my GRXM brothers. That’s on February 9th. Then after that I really have nothing solid planned. I’d like to work with a bunch of cool ass people this year, maybe go on a little tour if possible. Who knows what can happen though. I’ll probably just take shit day by day and hope mad people keep catching on to my shit. I’m grateful as fuck for everything.