» » BlaccOut Garrison: A Proper Introduction

BlaccOut Garrison is no stranger to the OK-Tho chronicles. He makes appearances as often as he releases music. That being said, we have never linked up to do a proper interview, until today. The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota hip hopper made his debut half a year ago with his unsurprisingly soul-influenced project Hungry Soulful. His sophomore effort, Cranberry Apple Juice dropped a little over a month ago and found Garrison's artistry evolving into an outlet for rumination and introspection. 

Our interview with BlaccOut Garrison begins with a brief introduction touching upon some of the basics including the meaning behind his name, who his inspirations are, and the quality of the Hip Hop scene in his hometown. We then delve a bit deeper into the significance of the title Cranberry Apple Juice as well as the meaning behind the potent cover art. Finally, we explore the creative process behind the project and end with a few questions about the sensitive and complex issue of the stigmatization of mental health.


OK-Tho:
Tell me more about your name and the meaning behind the acronym within it.

BlaccOut Garrison:
Well, first off, thanks for having me and thank you and the family over at OK-Tho for always showing major love and support and giving me a true platform to deliver my message.

Now, my name stems from a young and real educational time in my life. I started getting into music at a young age, it was something natural for me because I've always been a real lover of music. I went through so many different phases in my craft as well, just trying to find myself as a young man and artist. I was about thirteen or fourteen when I got the name "BlaccOut" and before that it was "Young Blacc." My name had no meaning at first and I wanted to drop the young from it because I felt that would put a limit on my growth as an artist.

I replaced the original spelling of "BlackOut" with the two C's because I wanted to stand out as much as possible amongst my peers and I love to play with the spelling of words but I found out later on that the spelling of those two letters (cc) could be somehow gang related so I try to make it a point to showcase that I AM NOT part of that gang lifestyle/culture at all every chance I get. 

There is no gimmicks behind my artist name at all, It's all the same person and it's pretty self-explanatory, to be honest. The meaning behind "BlaccOut" though is to "Balance Life And Continue Climbing Out" that just represents hope and "Garrison" is my real last name which was added later on down the line. 

OK-Tho:
What’s up with Dreamer’s Community?

BlaccOut Garrison:
Dreamer's Community is a lifestyle brand in which I created back in 2010. I'm still in the process of building my brand from the ground up and it's for everyone that wants to be a part of something positive and filled with nothing but love and good vibes. It's for the people, you don't have to just be an artist to represent this lifestyle brand. It's really a community of dreamers of all sorts. I consider myself "musically" a servant of the community and when I say the "community" I don't just mean a certain area, city etc.. I mean the world as a whole. It's deeper than just "rap" for me you know? 

As young artists, I feel that we hold a certain responsibility when putting these words together on these records you know? These kids are actually listening to the words and I understand that. Plus I'm very in tune with what they want to hear because I’m young and a part of the youth myself, I just want to be the breath of fresh air through these times and try to gain more understanding while playing my part as well that's why dreamers community was built.

P.S. - There will be "dreamers community" merchandise available for everyone to purchase as well. 

OK-Tho:
Who are you inspirations?

BlaccOut Garrison:
So many to name man lol but I can say some of my currents favorites at the moment.  Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of different sounds picking up inspiration. Like this band that goes by the name of The Hics" and I think they are from the United Kingdom. They are incredible. I also recently just got into Brandyn Burnette & Molly Moore's latest EP's as well and I have to say that they are amazing on record together and solo. I try to keep my ears open to all types sounds to be honest, old and new. I’m always into grasping inspiration when I can. 

OK-Tho:
Who are your dream collaborations?

BlaccOut Garrison:
Dream collabs? Well, I would definitely have to say Michael Jackson if he were still alive, rest in peace.  My current dream collab though would have to be with Terrace Martin and honestly we wouldn't even have to just jump into working on a record just yet. A conversation with dawg would be dope. He seems like a real humble guy that you could really pick up some game from judging from his interviews. His new album Velvet Portraits is amazing by the way, I recommend you guys give it a spin or twenty lol. 

OK-Tho:
Where are you from and what is the hip hop scene like there? 

BlaccOut Garrison:
I am from a small town called Brooklyn Park located here in Minnesota. We have some of the most talent on the universe here in Minnesota to be honest. I'm not trying to be biased because of this being where I’m from but it's the truth. The music scene here has always had its up's and down's like every other music scene but I can say that we contribute some of the best music you'll ever hear on earth. Just do your research. 

OK-Tho:
What is the meaning behind the title of Cranberry Apple Juice and what is the significance of the picket signs in the cover art? 

BlaccOut Garrison:
The true meaning behind the title of the EP is LOVE. There's all types of love and I just wanted to touch on how it could be sour and sweet all at the same time you know? The picket signs are pretty self-explanatory dawg. You see what's going on outside right now? People are dying man and this a real thing in these communities. People are hurting.

OK-Tho:
You touched on the significance of the cover art in the Soundcloud bio, but could you elaborate?

BlaccOut Garrison:
Okay, on the left you see the guy's hand reaching towards the woman's hand on the right. As she pass him the cranberries dripping in apple juice this represents how bitter and sweet the love could be. You will also notice that she has a garden snake creeping up her arm ready to bite the guy's hand and the snake represents the temptation and trust factor we put into women and we hold them to high regards but sometimes we may overlook what things actually are in the moment but it's only human of us to do so you know? 

OK-Tho:
On “Masked,” what do you mean when you say you’ve never been a turtle in a rabbit race? Doesn’t the turtle win in the fable?


BlaccOut Garrison:
I said that line by a mistake while recording that verse to be honest. It was supposed to be the other way around and I just decided to keep it that way because I knew that I could never get that same feeling and emotion back again when I recorded it. Barry Gordy of Motown Records once told Michael Jackson that he loved mistakes and that they are not always a bad thing so I just took that same advice.

OK-Tho:
Cranberry Apple Juice finds you sharing more intimate narratives than your past releases. What warranted this shift in content?

BlaccOut Garrison:
I really just wanted to peel back some more layers on this one. The content is not too far fetch from what I normally do. I never want to repeat myself by doing the same exact thing that I did before but I always want to stay in my lane. I never want to box myself in creatively you know? 

A lot of my past released music before my first mixtape Dreams&Thoughts was just kind of me experimenting with different content, sounds and styles of music. If you go back through my catalog of music or even my YouTube music videos you can tell and notice that I didn't really fully understand what I wanted to do with my artistry yet early on. I really was just trying to find my sound and it got rough for me because I knew what I wanted to say but I was kind of in my own way. I distracted myself with trying to do what other artists were doing and following trends at first.

OK-Tho:
What did a day working on Cranberry Apple Juice entail? How does that process compare to the process behind past projects?

BlaccOut Garrison:
Well, I just wanted this EP to come together naturally and that's how I go into all of my projects. My creative process is always different and I’m very picky when it comes to my instrumentation because that's key for me to grab these feelings but the sessions for this EP were definitely very serious and I just wanted to speak on a few things were weighing heavy on me in those moments.

OK-Tho:
How did the collaborative process go with this project? Who was your favorite producer to work with?

BlaccOut Garrison:
As far as the collaborative process that's always natural as well. I don't care about how big of a buzz or how big of a brand the artist has to be honest. I'm more into the music and I like what I like. It has to make sense before anything. I never want to spread myself too thin and collab just to collab you know? It has to be cohesive. My favorite producer I worked with on this project was BLUFFGAWD he's a dope cat out of Florida. His beats fit my sound so perfect and he did "Masked" which is number one on the EP. 

OK-Tho:
On “Bittersweet” you admit to contemplating suicide. What internal struggles pushed you to consider that as a solution?


BlaccOut Garrison:
To be honest there's a series of things that I don't really want to go in depth about too much but I can say as human beings we deal things in different ways you know? Some people are better at covering their hurt and some are not. I put my thoughts and emotions on record for those that may be feeling the same way I feel. It's all coming from a place of truth you know? 

Like I said early on, I'm a servant of the community when it comes to what I do and I just want to be transparent as possible through my words. I never want to come off as the "sad artist" you feel me? But I understand that pain exists in all of us and it would only be right to write about mines but suicide is NEVER the answer.

OK-Tho:
You follow up that your admission with the line “Don’t think I’m crazy.” What do you think of how the public views mental health presently? 

BlaccOut Garrison:
Well, I feel sometimes we look past it. Especially in the black communities, I think it's something we look at as a weakness in my opinion. Growing up hearing about mental health issues made me have a certain outlook on that situation as a whole until I got older and grasped some understanding about it and it’s a real touchy subject man. I think mental health should be viewed as something serious and taken that way as well. Sometimes we may not know if we are suffering with mental illnesses but I definitely feel like it's something to look upon. 


OK-Tho:
What is next for the BlaccOut Garrison?

BlaccOut Garrison:
Just have to wait and see man lol but don't expect anything haha.

(He said not to expect anything, then promptly dropped the following track. SMH, I thought I could trust you Garrison.)


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