• Darian O'Neil

The Amethyst Project: A Display of Unity Across South Carolina

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

At the beginning of the year, we seen the Dreamville camp do something special. The star-studded label, headed by J. Cole, sent dozens of rappers, singers, and producers stylized invitations to a recording session in Atlanta via social media. Over the course of ten days, some of the most established and most promising artists in the industry came together to create what would eventually become the third installment of the label's Revenge of the Dreamers series. If rap had an all-star weekend, these sessions would have been the equivalent to it. Just by taking a look at the documentary of the sessions, you can get a feel for the organic nature of the event. Despite the underlying sense of competitiveness in the air, it was still all love.

Photo courtesy of @newmoonvisuals on IG

A group of South Carolina-based curators were so inspired by this unity and collaboration that they decided to execute their own version focusing strictly on the state of South Carolina: the Amethyst Project. Similar to the Dreamville rollout, the Amethyst team initiated their project by sending out invitations on Instagram to a plethora of bubbling artists, producers, engineers, videographers, and media personalities all located in South Carolina. The recording sessions, which took place on December 7th and 8th in Summerville, were full of an unmistakable energy and saw artists who had never collabed before suddenly working in conjunction with one another. There was one main goal for the project: unity.

The concept came from the curator Black Dave. He wanted to see if unity was the reason why South Carolina wasn’t getting looked at musically so he elected five other curators: Kris Kalyn, Q Of the Dynamics, B-Fresh, DJ Scrib and Candice of BINACT to select artists and producers around the state for a collaborative album. We also invited media from SC to cover it. - B-Fresh

In recap videos of the event, artists can be seen freestyling over beats courtesy of in-house producers and simply having fun with each other. Without a doubt, it was a unique experience that brought people together and showed South Carolina creatives in an unselfish, collaborative light.

I recently got the chance to exchange words with a few artists who participated in the Amethyst Project about their experience, and additionally, I got further insight into the makings of the project from B-Fresh, one of the curators. Read a transcript of the interviews below, and be on the lookout for the completed Amethyst Project to come out during the first quarter of 2020.

What was your reaction when you found out you had been invited to participate in the Amethyst Project?

Bluflame James: Mane, when I found out I was in the crib wildin'. I actually didn’t get an original invitation. A couple days before, there was a contest. Pretty much whoever got the most comments got an invite. I hit up everybody I knew: friends, fam, fans alike. Around 8 that night, I got a mention, saw my invite, and immediately started preparing beats and raps to bring to the table.

Crucialbgr: I’m not good at working with others, so when I got invited I thought it was cool cause it would give me the practice I needed.

Kaizer: So, I was never invited. Like no lie to you. My close friend Black Dave, who is the primary organizer to it all, told me about it and I’m like his little brother so I was gonna come through regardless and just not record and catch a vibe and see everyone’s processes. He told me it makes no sense to come and not make some songs so he made me a ticket and the rest is history. 

What was the atmosphere like when you got there? Was it immediately all love with the other artists or was there some competitive tension in the air?

Bluflame James: I got there fairly early. Pulled up and [Black] Dave and a few artists were already there. Only familiar face I knew at the time was Jah Jr. Everybody was just outside chopping it up until Q pulled up and the equipment started rolling in. Once things got going, it was amazing. A lot of us were just introducing ourselves through our music. A couple cats did make me pull the pad out and jot some shit down [laughs].

Crucialbgr: It was more relaxed given that all of us are creatives and we knew we were there to create. I feel like once we started recorded then it got intense because everybody was locked in and going hard.

Kaizer: For me it was all love. I’m a really goofy dude and I always want everyone around me comfortable or else it feels like your vibe will bleed over to mine, and I was just making the best of it all. I made some new friends and some family.

One of your favorite moments?

Bluflame James: I think one of my favorite moments was when I was in a separate room finna make another beat. Yang sent me some samples and I wanted to knock something out real quick. Fast forward, it’s like five other artists in there just rocking to it. Then I play something similar to what Scene Jesus was asking for, slowed the tempo, and we just had an impromptu cypher. Everything off the dome. Shit was fye and my first time experiencing something like that organically. Especially off of one of my beats.

Crucialbgr: Favorite moment was meeting the producers. You can never have enough beats and every single one brought a style I wasn’t used to which made me adapt, so that was pretty cool.

Kaizer: Definitely between recording and just hanging out listening to beats with everyone. We were all catching a vibe and just really getting to know each other a little. It wasn’t no superficial connections. We were getting to actually fuck with one another. Now you might see a bunch of collaborations happening you never expected. This next coming year I think music for all of us is gonna be making a drastic change.

What are your thoughts on the way [the Project] turned out?

B-Fresh: Honestly, the turn out was nothing short of amazing. We had forty plus show and everyone left their ego at the door. People were very supportive of each other. It felt family oriented. We recorded sun up to sun down.

Do you have a timeframe on when we can expect the Project to be released?

B-Fresh: We are thinking possibly towards the spring. We are currently working on organizing the music, the marketing behind it, and working on events after the release.

This is the inaugural year. Will this be an ongoing project for years to come?

B-Fresh: We already have been talking about part two either being recorded in the upstate or in Columbia. But we’re fully focused on what we have now. Hopefully we can gain the attention of a couple major publications.

Do you feel like the SC music scene is in a good place right now?

B-Fresh: I think we have eyes on us. Artists like jetsonmade, PG Ra, Renni Rucci, Childish Major, Pi'erre Bourne all have been in the spotlight the past two years. I think if the artists here stay consistent and release good music, these publications will have no choice but to come check out what we have going on.

Bluflame James: I feel like the SC music scene has a lot of talent. There was so many different styles at the studio and nobody was afraid to rap or sing on anything. I think it’s the job of us as artists to keep uplifting one another and cranking out A1 content. Also, I feel like media outlets, especially The Reach, could definitely play a major role in that togetherness. We talm' bout stripping down everything else besides the music, and pushing that. Don’t matter if you got a million plays or a hundred. If its dope, it can’t be denied.

Crucialbgr: I really do feel like we are. Given that SC is starting to explode with talent, it’s just gonna travel city to city one by one. Pretty soon everybody gonna be on. It’s just a matter of time.

Kaizer: It’s a mix. We are moving in the right direction for sure but I can’t say it’s good yet cause there’s a lot of imperfections going on with the scene. From the venues still not letting us present our art in its full rawness or just artists still feeling slighted because they didn’t get invited to something like this where there is no sort of prestigious idea attached to who came there. We just wanted to make the music we love and I hope I see more people that I don’t know next time. This is literally just the start to what we want and how we envision unifying the state. Ask me this again in a year and I promise we will be in a glorious music scene.


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