Moderator Loren Kajikawa
A.D. Carson: i used to love to dream, featuring Vintage and Truth
This virtual roundtable features recited performance, audio excerpts, and conversation about A.D. Carson’s most recent project, i used to love to dream, a mixtap/e/ssay that performs hip-hop scholarship using sampled and live instrumentation; repurposed music, film, and news clips; and original rap lyrics. As a genre, the mixtap/e/ssay brings together the mixtape—a self-produced or independently released album issued free of charge to gain publicity—and the personal and scholarly essays. i used to love to dream names Decatur, Illinois—the author's hometown—as a reference point for place- and time-specific rapped ruminations about the ideas of growing up, moving away, and pondering one's life choices. At the same time, the tracks attempt to account for moral, philosophical, and ethical dimensions undergirding unease about authenticity, or staying true to oneself and to one’s city or neighborhood, as well as the external factors that contribute to such feelings. Using the local to ask questions about the global, i used to love to dream highlights outlooks on Black life generally, and Black manhood in particular, in the United States.
A.D. Carson will be joined by two producers, Vintage and Truth, who contributed musical tracks (beats) to this project.
A.D. Carson is a performance artist and educator from Decatur, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design at Clemson University doing work that focuses on race, literature, history, and rhetorical performances. A 2016 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Excellence in Service at Clemson, Carson worked with students, staff, faculty, and community members to raise awareness of historic, entrenched racism at the university through his See the Stripes campaign, which takes its name from his 2014 poem. His dissertation, “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes & Revolutions,” is a digital archive that features a 34 track rap album and was recognized by the Graduate Student Government as the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation. Carson is an award-winning artist with essays, music, and poetry published at a variety of diverse venues such as The Guardian, Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program, and Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, among others. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South at the University of Virginia’s Department of Music.
Anthony Johnson (aka Vintage) is a Virginia-based keyboardist and music producer. His musical mantra is “No Vibes Left Behind!” While covering a wide array of genres, Vintage has shared the stage accompanying various recording artists. Currently he’s one half of the eclectic songwriting/production tandem Ubuntu Sounds.
Marcus Fitzgerald (aka Truth) is a Chicago based emcee, producer, and recording engineer. Marcus “Truth” Fitzgerald has been making hip hop music for 20+ years. Truth is the founder of OneShadow, a Chicago based rap label and group who was successful for selling thousands of CDs in the streets of Chicago. He is known for his craftiness behind the mic and his production prowess where he utilizes soul samples or self-created melodies to captivate the listener. Nowadays, he uses his skill set to assist younger emcees with their projects, collaborate with fellow emcees, and create songs to inspire and encourage the African-American community.
Loren Kajikawa is Associate Professor of Music at The George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, where he teaches courses in music history and ethnomusicology. His research focuses on the intersection of music, race, and politics in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His book Sounding Race in Rap Songs (University of California, 2015) analyzes the role that hip hop beats play in the construction of racial identity. Kajikawa has also served as editor of Journal of the Society for American Music and is currently series coeditor for Tracking Pop, University of Michigan Press’s popular music book series, which is the publisher of “i used to love to dream.”