We all have a particular dream in life that keeps us awake at night, pushes our bodies to the limit and inspires greatness to come from within. Unfortunately, many of these dreams lie forever dormant in our hearts. Often times, we fear the public ridicule associated with reaching beyond our grasp or are unwilling to devote our entirety to a single, demanding cause. But for the Columbus, OH rapper, Justin Stone, the opposite holds true.
Stone’s recently released album, “Long Time Coming”, is a musical journey that shares his dreams and dedication with the listener. Throughout the twelve tracks, you begin to understand Justin, where he came from and where he plans to go. Stone, an independent artist, has been focusing on his musical pursuits since he was young. “I have been working on this dream since I was 14 years old writing songs in my basement” Stone said in an exclusive interview with Life BackStage. He began by posting videos to YouTube during high school and has since expanded to various music platforms including iTunes and Spotify.
“Long time Coming” begins with a deeply personal intro track titled “Judge”. When describing the album’s opening, Stone claimed, “I got very open and honest about things that I was feeling at the time. Which is a scary thing to do for an artist because when you put something so personal out there on the line then the criticism hurts twice as much as it would have normally.” Other tracks Stone takes great pride in include the namesake song, “Long Time Coming” and the lyrical diary, “Speechless”.
For Justin, writing these tracks begins through isolation. “I have to be in my room with the door locked with the lights off. I’ve found that I write better the later at night it gets.” When the burning of the midnight oil is the only light in his room, Stone finds his inspiration: “what inspires my writing is the grind of chasing a dream that not many people are willing to chase.” He said, “another thing that drives my writing is personal experiences with my life. I write about how I am feeling that day and that specific time. It just depends on the day.” Along with his internal inspirations, Justin also finds motivation through his city, “I love to talk about my city (Columbus) and state. I was born in Columbus and moved away in middle school but right when I graduated high school at East Central I moved back. Once a buckeye always a buckeye.”
As with any dream and any artist, Stone has fellow musicians he deeply respects. “I really love the movement Logic is making. Peace, love and positivity. All about the good vibes. And he is an incredibly down to earth dude.” Along with Logic, Justin also respects the story and work ethic of fellow rapper, G-Eazy.
As Justin Stone’s career progresses, he admits he is still developing his musical identity. “I think I’m still trying to find my sound. I’m exploring all different types of sounds but I would consider myself a mix between hip hop and pop and chill. I’m trying to give people all different types of styles.” As he continues to develop his sound, Stone is working on bringing other artists into his music through a music collective. The collective is a joint effort between Chris Buxton, Ryan (Lavi) and Drake Chisholm. These artists support one-another and occasionally work on music together.
Looking towards the future, Stone has already released new music. A track titled KTYGI (Prod. Canis Major) debuted May 3, has already begun to receive positive feedback. It appears as though the future is bright for the young and rising artist.
In life, dreams are not meant to forever stay in our hearts. Our dedication and daily grind should demonstrate the goals we look to achieve. Justin and his music provide a wonderful example to this point. Even though it has been a long time coming, Stone has found success through hard work and believing he can accomplish what others think to be impossible. With his album recently reaching 25 on the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap Album charts , I look forward to seeing where his dream takes him next.