A Talk with SurvivalInNegativity
Updated: Sep 6, 2022
SurvivalInNegativity (or S.I.N. for short) is a Baltimore rapper whose latest album, Nightlife 4 (Thinking) Introverts, released this past February. He describes his sound as a mixture of different styles of hip hop.
He said: "Content-wise it mostly reflects my personality; laid-back, observant, conscious-leaning lyricism. My wheelhouse tends to be boom bap or lo-fi, but I like to mix it up and keep people guessing before it becomes too predictable."
Discussing why he decided to pursue music, S.I.N. said: "I was an only child on my mom's side so I spent a lot of time in my own head, which I guess made music something easy to gravitate towards. It was cool, essentially hearing what other people's heads sounded like."
Just as his albums are full of conscious themes, S.I.N.’s name also has meaning. He said: "My name is actually inspired by a Nas lyric on ‘The Cross’, where he made his name an acronym: ‘NAS means N****s Against Society.’ The meaning of my name goes hand in hand with my personality as well. Baltimore can be rough, but I managed to stay away from its darker parts."
His latest album is a spacey and atmospheric collaboration with producer B.Positiv. "The ‘Nightlife’ title came from me looking into the idea of introversion and finding out about the four types that are associated with it: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained. I was collecting beats from the homie B.Positiv. The ones I picked all had this moody, distinctly night-time feel to them, so I based the project’s theme on what an introvert like me gets up to while everyone is out and about."
Since S.I.N. and B.Positiv lived on different sides of the country – Baltimore and Portland respectively – the album making process was unorthodox. S.I.N. said: "B.Positiv had around five beat tapes, and I listened to each one and picked out the beats with a similar mood to give the project its cohesive sound. This was our best option since we couldn’t directly link up and cook it all up from scratch."
S.I.N. has a range of musical inspirations. He said: "My first big one was DMX – he’s the reason I started rapping. I had this tape, …And Then There Was X, and I played it every day. My mom didn’t allow much rap in the house, so that was one of the first albums outside of the clean stuff like Will Smith I got to hear. There was something about DMX’s conviction that made me say, ‘I think I can do that.’ I wrote my first rhyme – it was horrible – but I couldn’t stop for some reason."
Regarding other collaborations, S.I.N. has another project in the works with producer INSMNC. He said: “Our project is called Sui Generis. It’s an old Latin term meaning ‘unique’, and I think that’s the gold we struck by blending our worlds together. His somewhat futuristic, diverse sound and my ‘90s influenced technique. INSMNC is kind of Dr Dre-esque with the level of pressure he puts on himself to make the song right. You’ll record something to one beat, and within a month, he’ll have two more versions of it. It's a fun process, and keeps me open-minded because not every initial idea has to be set in stone.”
When it comes to future collaborations, there are dozens of artists S.I.N. wants to work with. "9th Wonder, Madlib, Blu, Common, Nas, Atmosphere, and pretty much anyone in that Rhymesavers Entertainment circle. Also producers like MACKAVELLI Beats, and VON POE VII. I got a song produced by Funki Flava called Drama (On & On) out now, but I’d love to rap with him as well. There’s a lot more, so I’ll stop there."
S.I.N. has a lot more music coming down the line. He said: "I got a couple of projects with Lotus Key, known as Lington in the Grime scene. I’m also working with Act Won, the duo Rally 4 Reality, the duo S.O.T.S., 4Word Posse with Tru Thoughts and Young INF. Stay tuned for more music from myself and the homie B.Positiv, and INSMNC of course."