Bobby Sessions is a name that’s been generating a lot of buzz recently. His high-octane lyricism and deft delivery make him hard to not pay attention to and his unrelenting energy is infectious. He is unapologetically political and has a fervor that borders on rage, curbed only by his cool-headed perspective that turns personal stories and experiences into larger representations of life in America. Last year he really stepped into the national spotlight with his track “The Hate U Give” which was on the soundtrack for the movie by the same name. That was followed by RVLTN – Chapter 2: The Art Of Resistance a scathing follow up to Chapter 1 which finds Sessions holding a mirror up to the American people, challenging us to consider what we are.
The Dallas based Def Jam emcee is currently on tour with Boogie, and a couple weeks ago we sat down with him when that tour came through Chicago. We got into a range of topics, from his musical process to police brutality, the law of attraction and the meaning of justice. Check out the full interview below.
rubyhornet: So to start off, I was reading a few of your interviews and I don’t really want to ask if you consider yourself political because I feel like that’s pretty obvious, but I do want to ask what does liberation look like to you?
Bobby Sessions: It looks like human beings having a right to do whatever the fuck they want to do as long as they’re not harming anybody.
rubyhornet: How do you think we can get there?
Bobby Sessoins: I don’t have the answers for that, but I would say the best next step is for everybody to increase their level of self awareness and self love. I think when you truly love yourself and you’re pouring that into yourself, you overflow with love and you tend not to want to impress other people because you see yourself in other people. You have so much love for yourself and then you have love for humanity as a whole.
rubyhornet: Is that something you’re trying to do on a personal level as well?
Bobby Sessions: Absolutely.
rubyhornet: What influence has being from Dallas had on your music?
Bobby Sessions: One of my biggest influences has been this collective from Dallas called DSR which stands for Dirty South Rydaz. That’s the act that influenced me to freestyle and to be able to think of rhymes on the fly – probably more so than any other artist or collective for that matter. I think that’s been the main influence I’ve gotten from being from Dallas.
rubyhornet: When did you start freestyling or thinking that you could rap?
Bobby Sessions: I started freestyling in like first grade. It started at the lunch table, then it would be in the back of class and it turned into the locker room. And then when I was playing football when we were going to and from games on the bus, I would just trying to say a line that would make the whole bus go crazy. And then it’s just never stopped from there.
rubyhornet: So do you think that there was a moment where you just said some shit, it worked and it just clicked.
Bobby Sessions: Yeah in college. I had a line where I said, “Trying to see me is like a blind man staring at a peephole” and people lost it and I knew at that moment that I was going to drop out of college and rap full time.
rubyhornet: Were you nervous about that? About dropping out or did it just feel like it was going to work?
Bobby Sessions: Both. There was a feeling of nervousness because you’re going into the unknown, but I was also also knew it was going to work out. The nervousness came from figuring out how.
rubyhornet: I’ve seen you talk a lot about manifestation and the law of attraction. Was that something that you were thinking about when you dropped out?
Bobby Sessions: No, not when I dropped out. I knew I was supposed to rap at that point. I knew that was a calling, but I didn’t necessarily know why. I came into the law of attraction about three years after I dropped out. And that sent me on a deep dive into a lot of motivational books, a lot of self help books, seminars, speeches and things of that nature. And then through that and conditioning my mind to have a positive perspective on everything around me and surrounding me, I didn’t develop my reason why, but I’ve tried to implement those same principles into all of the music.
rubyhornet: That’s interesting. What do you think attracted you to the law of attraction? I mean did you go out looking for something or did it just come across you?
Bobby Sessions: Not really. I feel like it came across me, it, I guess I attracted it somehow. So I was working at a grocery store at the time and I would be stocking cans of soup on a certain isle or something like that and to pass the time I developed this game I would play. I would be like, if I feel I’m going to have a positive interaction with a customer what is the chance of that happening? Because when somebody walks in there, they expect you to know every answer to everything. So they would all have different kinds of personalities cause you know, some of them are coming in from work, some husbands are coming in and their wives gave them a list so you see men in there scrambling because they don’t know where the hell anything is. So they would have a lot of different personalities and a lot of different vibrations. So I would try to predict what would happen, what a particular interaction would be. And then randomly I called in to work one day and my girl was like, let’s watch The Secret. I’m thinking it’s a romantic comedy or something like that. And I’m like, I’ve been watching the first take every day for days straight and you got to sacrifice in your relationships. So she puts it on and it’s about the Law of Attraction – what you think can become – thoughts become things. When I first saw it, I thought it was bullshit. And then I started thinking about it and I do have a lot of pessimistic ways. So I’ve always had plan B’s and C’s cause I’m always prepping for something to go wrong instead of putting all my energy into something going right. Once I researched the principal a lot deeper and got into all the other books that gave me more information about the subject, I realized that I needed to have a paradigm shift and a change in my mentality. And it’s worked out well thus far.
rubyhornet: So how have you prepared for, for positive things to happen?
Bobby Sessions: You have to condition your subconscious mind. For example, I thought my thoughts were on autopilot. Whatever random thoughts I had, I thought that’s the way it always had to be. And then once I realized I had the power to control my thoughts and that it wouldn’t be an overnight thing, it’s not like you say I control all my thoughts and then instantly it goes like that. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of discomfort to condition your mind to operate in that way. But I think people just monitoring their self talk, you always have a voice in your head that’s trying to stop you from being your best self, saying, “You’re not worthy to accomplish this” or “What makes you think you deserve to have these great things happen in your life?” Once you, through practice and repetition, begin to manage that negative voice in your head I think it puts people in a better space to make great things happen consistently.
rubyhornet: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So is it a lot of like talking back to the voice in your head at first? When that negative thought comes into your head. What do you do?
Bobby Sessions: I say more replacing it, not talking back. I think in the beginning stages you start to talk back. Like it’s a battle, a tennis match, so to speak. But I think eventually it gets to the point where this voice gets quieter and quieter and instead of trying to respond to the negative voice, you turn the volume up on the positive voice. So anytime I think I can’t do something, I’ll be like, “Why not? Why not me? I see people that are accomplishing things all the time that came from even worse situations than me. So why can’t I persevere?Why can’t I take my life to the next level?” So I focus on the other side that’s inspirational and I focus on the voice in my head that tells me I can do whatever I put my mind to.
rubyhornet: I really like that. So on your last album, RVLTN – Chapter 2:The Art Of Resistance one of the things I noticed is that you actually talk to the blue lives matter crowd, right? That’s something that’s really interesting, it seems like it’s you trying to open up a dialogue. My question is what do you want them to take away from that?
Bobby Sessions: I want the blue lives matter crowd to take away that by saying blue lives matter as a rebuttal to black lives matter -I’m not talking about the organization, I’m talking about the sentiment it’s self – that’s very insensitive because you’re comparing your occupation to my entire existence. Black people did not create race. That wasn’t a thing. For most of the human civilization, it was always about where people were from. So we see that people that look like me, the different shades of me, they get mistreated and there’s data to support that, we have video evidence to support that now. For a dead body to be on the street and somebody says black lives matter and you respond back with blue lives matter. You get to clock out from your job of being a cop, you can quit being a cop today and be a teacher. You could be a janitor. I can’t quit my skin color this is what it is. I had no say so in it. I didn’t apply for it. There’s no 401k attached to it. So to compare your occupation to my existence is just very disrespectful and I think taking a step back and realizing that, you probably wouldn’t say that as a rebuttal. And if all of our lives matter when a black person gets killed, it should affect you as much as it affects me the same way I would say this is one of my own. If you’re a white person and a black person gets killed, that’s one of your, the same way if a white person gets killed by a cop, that’s one of my own cause we’re all the human race.
rubyhornet: Do you think you’re trying to start a conversation with your music? Because one of the things that’s going on right now is that it’s impossible to get different sides to talk to each other. So as an artist, how do you make that jump?
Bobby Sessions: I don’t know. I can control what I can control and I’m using my platform now to speak on the things that I see and I will be as honest and raw as possible with my opinions about that right, wrong or, or whatever, and hopefully inspire people to do the same thing. I think having those uncomfortable conversations will ultimately lead us in the right direction. I’m not a savior, I’m not a guru. I don’t know. But I can just do my part and then hopefully a bunch of individuals doing their part will lead to us collectively making change happen.
rubyhornet: Definitely. That’s very practical. When you talk about police brutality which I know you have had very personal experiences with, do you think that you take a broader collective experience when you’re writing? Or is it more about your personal feelings and your personal experiences with it?
Bobby Sessions: Both. I mean I definitely draw from the personal pain that I got and my family’s pain as well from that experience. But I don’t want my perspective on it to be limited to that because if I only draw from that, I can have some blind spots in other areas because I’m so attached to what happened to me. There’s a lot of different perspectives, but I try to be as broad as I can without compromising the message.
rubyhornet: Definitely. You do a great job of that. What does Basquiat represent to you?
Bobby Sessions: An iconic artists that also had a lot of bold messaging in a lot of his pieces and somebody that was there to be different.
rubyhornet: Is he an inspiration of yours?
Bobby Sessions: For sure. He inspires me to also be bold with my art, and be unconventional in my approach at times.
rubyhornet: As far as that goes, I want to ask you about your beat selection. What do you look for when you’re listening to instrumentals to go off of what makes it be like, oh yeah, that’s the one.
Well, most of my songs, the lyrics come first and then I had me and the producer link to build the beat around the message. I try to make what I’m saying, the foundation for the record. I have a vision of how I want it to sound and we make sure that we bring people in that I don’t have to explain in every detail what I want. People that are great and have an understanding of the things that I’m looking for. And they just take it and turn it into something that’s 10 times better than what I saw in my head. We have great producers at High Standardz who go by name of Picnic and Anthem. They’re incredible producers, one out of Dallas and one from Atlanta. We have a good connection and they have a good understanding of what I’m looking for or, they’ll try some things that I would have never thought of that fit the subject matter.
rubyhornet: So do you guys meet up in person every time?
Bobby Sessions: With Picnic I do, just cause we’re both in Dallas. Anthem, he just magically has a feel for things that I like and just sends it and it’s already perfect by the time it gets to me.
rubyhornet: So how has, it been being on Def Jam?
Bobby Sessions: It’s been a great experience to thus far. It’s been a blur. I signed January last year and it feels like it was five years ago. But it’s been a great experience. The staff there has been great for our team at High Standardz. And I just see it as another leg to help us take the vision to the next level and to reach as many people as possible. Our focus right now is still doing the groundwork that we need in Dallas and make sure we’re building up something that’s going to last for long.
rubyhornet: So then what, what are the next moves for you?
Bobby Sessions: To keep expanding, and continue to plant seeds in these markets outside of Texas. Having a presence. Doing what we did on this Boogie tour was a great next step. I’m getting my foot in some new markets and getting more people to experience Bobby Sessions.
rubyhornet: Definitely. The last question I got for you is from my homie that’s from Deep Ellum he said, what’s the late night move between Waffle House and Whataburger for you?
Bobby Sessions: The bed, after you get the honey butter chicken biscuit. You’re going to bed.
rubyhornet: Is there anything else you want to talk about?
Bobby Sessions: Yeah. Just that I have new music coming in 2019.
rubyhornet: Dope. We’ll definitely be on the lookout for that.