Jacob: Highlighting the issue of bullying through rap music

My recently released single, Jacob (ft. Bryan Shortell) is the first single of my upcoming rap album, Road to Carnegie Hall. The album takes listeners on a journey through seven emotions, including anger, which the song Jacob represents.

Stop bullying! Kynn - Jacob (ft. Bryan Shortell) #nomorebullyshit

Jacob conveys a powerful anti-bullying message about the emotional effects that bullying can have on today’s youth. Having witnessed the negative effects myself as a young man, I wanted to take a stand against bullying through my rap music. The song Jacob highlights the issue that is still so prevalent in today’s society, so I wanted to use my music as a platform to stop bullying.

The story is about a boy who’s getting bullied at school. He leaves home early every morning to get to school before his bullies, and avoid their emotional and physical attacks. The consistent bullying gets too much for the boy, who eventually snaps; Jacob stabs one of the bullies with a pen that has fallen from his backpack.

The video is a real-life portrayal of a situation that unfortunately isn’t rare in today’s society. The aim of the message is to have the audience connect with the topic and feel a certain empathy for those that fall victim to it.

Developing the concept behind Jacob

I always write about things that I think are important; things that I hope can contribute something positive to communities or individuals. I want my audience to reflect on important issues while enjoying my rap music.

So...I needed a topic for the emotion “anger” as part of the new album, so I thought about: What would make me angry? What makes others angry? The answer was pretty obvious, and so the concept for Jacob was born.

Connecting with Bryan Shortell (Northern Faces, NYC) 

Collaboration is so much stronger than competition, and that’s why I knew that collaborating with Bryan Shortell for Jacob, would produce amazing results. Bryan, a New York based singer from the band Northern Faces, was working as the sound engineer for my new rap album when I heard his music.

Once I heard his music, I instantly knew that we should work together on a collaboration; we connected on a personal as well as a musical level. He sent me some guitar loops, and I played around producing it; it eventually became the beat for Jacob.

I hired a bass player and drummer and then I started writing. Lyrics like: “He wants to kick back but he knows he won’t.” came easily to me.  I wanted to communicate the challenges that victims of bullying experience, as well as let the victims know that they aren’t alone; I wanted Jacob to represent anti-bullying around the globe.

Making the music video

The music video for Jacob was filmed in New York as well as in the Netherlands. I wrote the screenplay, as well as directed and edited the video; it all came together perfectly after lots of hard work and long hours. Having the opportunity to work with so many talented, creative individuals has been a career highlight for me.

New York City

Atze Oosterhof, my cameraman, travelled with me from the Netherlands to New York City, and Bryan travelled down from Albany. Having the opportunity to travel to New York, and meet up with Bryan was a once in a lifetime experience. New York is such a vibrant, gritty city, and was the perfect setting for Jacob. We filmed the majority of the footage beneath the Brooklyn Bridge with a view of the Manhattan skyline as the back drop.

The Netherlands

The rest of the footage was shot in The Hague at The Hague University. Gavin Delusong, a talented actor with a diverse showreel, was cast for the main role as Jacob. His ability to express the emotions that Jacob felt was second to none. The three bullies were played by the very talented actors Alexander van Reeken, Miles Bugdayci and Ivan Legroeney.

The teacher was portrayed by a friend of mine, Roel Kleine, while the extras were sourced locally through the university and via social media.  

On the day of shooting, I was lucky enough to have help from Sebastiaan the Roos, Roel Klein and Brian van der Werf. As well as from Gryzz Lee from Gryzzlee design, my graphic designer who created the cover of the single and album.

What’s next?

My second single, Overseas Connection, is due for release on the 24th of May. It’s a song about how music can connect people. It’s a funky and joyful collaboration with Frannie EL (a singer from Nigeria), BRMS (a rapper from Mauritania), Zenyth (a reggae artist from Jamaica) and background vocals provided by Tehillah Henry (a female singer from England). It’s a story about different cultures coming together and spreading the positive message of how music can connect people, regardless of where they come from; music is a common bond that blurs cultural lines.

Check out the music video for Jacob or listen to it on rotation via streaming or download on Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, iTunes, Tidal and more. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, Kynn Music, so you don’t miss out on all of my new rap music; my new rap album Road to Carnegie is due to drop soon!

Check out how I created my new rap album on a shoe string budget in the blog article "My first solo album: Follow me on my journey and find out how I created my new rap album" .

Let’s stand together to stop bullying! To show your support for Kynn and Bryan’s message of anti-bullying, use the hashtag #nomorebullyshit.

My first solo album: Follow me on my journey and find out how I created my new rap album

If you think making your first solo album is going to be easy, think again. It takes a lot of hard work, long hours and determination. But it’s not all a tough grind, if you’re living your passion then every moment is exhilarating, even if there are challenges along the way.

Due for release in May 2019, my new rap album and first solo album, "Road to Carnegie Hall has been a labour of love. The hard work started well before the idea of a solo album crossed my mind. I’ve always been inquisitive and keen to learn new things, letting my curiosity get the better of me. But all of the skills that I’ve developed and the knowledge I’ve gained from a young age, have contributed to this once in a lifetime experience.

At around age 12, I was to drawn to hip-hop music and started creating my own beats, and as I grew older, I was not only passionate about rap but I was drawn to many subjects that I could use as creative outlets. Marketing, website development, graphic design and videography have all added to my depth and range as a professional, giving me the skills I needed to take this journey.

Having varied musical influences as I was growing up like rap artists Eminem, DMX, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan as well as Linkin Park, Muse and The Prodigy helped shape my hip-hop style, leading me to create melodic rap music that conveys personal messages from my past, present and future.

As my passion for hip-hop music and other creative subjects grew, I started building a network of colleagues and friends in these industries, many of whom are extremely talented at what they do; artistic minds, visionaries and pioneers.

My new rap album wasn’t planned, my path led me to a place where it was intuitive and developed into something more than just a single hip-hop song.

How did I create my new rap album?

Well the answer is that I was resourceful, opportunistic and creative; my budget may have been limited but my ideas weren’t. I soon realised that making a new rap album isn’t just about the music, I had to think about everything from branding and digital marketing to music videos and so much more; each piece of the puzzle had multiple parts to it. From recording rap vocals in a simple bedroom type studio setting to designing my own website, I used every resource I had and I knew that the sky was the limit.

I started producing the tracks on the album; I have never had a formula for this so I just started with an element that felt right. It could be a drum beat, an 808, a string pad or whatever I felt was a good base for the track I was working on. My process has always been instinctive, once I started feeling the vibe, I would create the vocal melodies and lyrics. While I have an ear for music, I can’t play any musical instruments, so to complete my new rap songs and fill in the gaps, I reached out to musicians that I thought could add melody to my music; some I gave direction to whilst others created their own tunes and the result was almost always amazing.

While I have some knowledge of mixing and mastering, I soon realised that I wasn’t necessarily the best person for the job, so I partnered with Bryan Shortell, from the New York based band Northern Faces, who I had previously worked with. His work was professional, high quality and exactly what I needed for my new rap album; working with him on this project was one of the best choices I made.

Besides all of the fun I had creating the music with so many talented people, this project helped me expand my network that now includes people from around the globe; it helped me to develop the skills I needed to know how and where to find the right people.

I was fortunate enough to have one of the most creative and innovative graphic designers in the Netherlands as an ex brother-in-law, Gryzz Lee Design. He works with some of the biggest record labels in the country creating unique artwork; having him on this project was a dream come true.

I understood how important it would be to combine my hip-hop music with striking visual content. I enrolled Nathanaël Lumoindong to the task of creating my photographic content. I really loved his street photography style and knew that his work was in line with the vision for my new rap album.

Something that I knew I could do was create a one of a kind website; it would be one of the many ways that I would communicate with my audience. I created a WordPress website and added the visuals that Nathanaël has taken, together with New York photo's made by Atze Oosterhof to make it look distinctive. Although creating lyrics comes naturally to me, writing website content is not my strength so I reached out to my global network and enrolled Louise Reynolds, an Australian content creator, to write all of my website content including my bio.

My advice for you:

Go for it! Whether you’ve been thinking about it for a while or you’ve just come up with the idea, there’s no better time than now. Use your imagination to come up with creative solutions to solve your problems. Creating hip-hop music and a new rap album was the best thing I ever did; your dream could become a reality. Visualise the bigger picture and then come up with a plan. The internet has endless online tools that will help you make that vision become a reality. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, reach out to your networks and engage with talented creatives.

Watch the first official video: Kynn - Jacob (ft. Bryan Shortell)