Artist Spotlight: Soundminerz - Folded Waffle Artist Spotlight: Soundminerz - Folded Waffle

Artist Spotlight: Soundminerz


Artist Introduction

What’s your stage name and where are you from?

Proph: We’re the Soundminerz and we’re a two-man crew composed of emcee Proph and producer Phdirac. To be honest, I lived in too many places to name, but Virginia will always be home for me because the cumulative total of the years spent there, in addition to everything I learned while living there, made me who I am today.

Phdirac: I’m originally from Florida but I’ve been living in Oakland, CA for over 10 years. Proph and I met at Norfolk State University in Virginia.

What’s the story behind your stage name?

Proph: For our group name, both of us always had, and still have, ambitions of digging below the surface artistically. Our desire is always to push the envelope and differentiate ourselves from the norm. As for my moniker, Proph, it’s something my best friend from college, Bee West, donned me with my freshman year. It used to be Young Prophet, as I guess I came off as one to him back then, but over the years he’d just call me Proph and I kept it.

Phdirac: Proph gave a great description of our group’s name and ethos. My producer name was originally Dirac, which was a nod to the brilliant physicist Paul Dirac. I eventually changed it to Phdirac to commemorate the completion of my Ph.D. studies. My friend Nim Sins started pronouncing it as “fiddyrack” and it stuck after that.

Describe your musical journey in three sentences.

Proph: Ever evolving as striking the balance between artistry and creative output has always been a personal struggle for me. Phdirac constantly reminds me to never overthink, release the music, and move on, but I hate the assembly line model, as a result of streaming nowadays. My mentality now, though, is quantity will eventually lead to quality the more you take risks and keep producing.

Phdirac: I started creating music in high school when I served as a student arranger for our marching band. Once I got to college, I started experimenting with the process of making beats. I fell in love with it immediately!

Fan Engagement

Share an interesting experience you had while creating your latest track.

Proph: I’m pretty meticulous when I write so I like to take my time, but this was one of the few songs where it didn’t take me too long to pen down. The visuals I painted, especially for the first verse, started to reveal themselves really fluidly the more I kept writing, and it felt as if I were transposing film directly from my brain. All my experiences up to that point, and all the stories shared with me that I was too young to remember, kept pouring out of me.

Phdirac: Proph originally wrote and demoed his verses on another beat that was composed by our good friend, Eliot Bohr. I periodically remix our old songs in order to practice. I cooked a new beat that fit the vibe of the lyrics so it was a really rewarding exercise.

What message do you want to convey through your music?

Proph: Writing has always been akin to using a camera for me. When I create music, I often zoom in on a single snapshot from my life or something that inspires me and build a loose narrative around it. Sometimes the music is told from a first-person perspective, but the focal point may not always be about me—it could be about a conflict or an idea itself. I leave it to the audience to decide whether I’m a reliable narrator. My hope is that through the narratives I create, I can spark meaningful dialogue, whether internal or external. I want people to wrestle with uncomfortable topics or explore ideas from a completely different vantage point, even if there’s already a lot of public discourse surrounding them, to challenge what they feel like they already know.

Phdirac: I try to communicate my vibe or emotion through the music production. However, I also don’t mind if the audience interprets the feeling of the music in an entirely different way than I expected. I believe our role as artists is to create the music and allow the listener to experience it in their own way.

Behind the Music

Tell us about a challenge you faced during production and how you overcame it.

Proph: I can’t sing worth a damn! I always had aspirations of singing long before I started rapping, but that never worked out for me. However, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with some incredible singers at The Reef, which is a recording studio we frequent in Oakland.

For example, when recording a song called “In My Ways,” we met an amazing singer named SundaY during the session. While I was working on the hook, she quietly sang along to herself. Phdirac noticed this and invited her to join in. She jumped in without hesitation and absolutely killed it — it was an amazing experience.

On another occasion, I asked our engineer, Jarin, if he knew any male singers for a song I was working on called “Stay.” He immediately connected me with a talented and soulful musician named Waymond Dionté. Both collaborations were fantastic, and I want to give a special shoutout to OG Jarin for bridging those relationships.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?

Proph: Right now, I’d love to collaborate with an artist named Yves Tumor. He’s such an incredible artist. I think he’s made some big waves on the indie side but he hasn’t totally blown up yet. I love that he’s able to do psychedelic-rock, metal, soul, and Hip Hop without ever really conforming to any genre; instead, he remains completely amorphous. He’s a multi-instrumentalist and such an inspiring vocalist. He and Danny Brown are both in my book because they’re both weird in a good way and I love how they push the envelope and themselves by not boxing themselves into what the world wants to hear. Blu is also a personal favorite of mine, and he forever changed my life with Below the Heavens, so doing a track with him would be a dream.

Phdirac: I’d love to collaborate with the artists from Griselda Records (We$tside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Benny the Butcher). They are on the leading edge of the modern boom bap movement and I think my style would complement theirs. I’d also love to work with Jaime Hinckson again. He’s an amazing pianist and we have great creative chemistry.

Future Aspirations

Where do you see your music taking you in the next year?

Proph: Next year, I feel like we’ll have stronger momentum both community-wise and fan-wise. Even though we’ve taken some extensive hiatuses as a group, we never stopped working, and I think we’ve finally got to a point where the polish is starting to show more clearly than it ever had in recent years. The plan is to be a lot more consistent moving forward, and just experiment as much as possible during our off-season period, which hopefully will pay dividends in the future.

What’s the next big step for you as an artist?

Proph: Right now, our focus is on promoting our upcoming album, Transitions, which will be released on June 7th. A lot of love and time went into this project, so I’m hoping everyone who has supported us over the years will really enjoy it. Beyond that, my plans include experimenting as much as possible musically to continue growing as an artist and collaborating with others to sharpen my skills. I’m also trying to sharpen my storytelling skills. I feel like it’s a lost art in Hip-Hop right now and I’d like to push the boundaries of traditional storytelling.

I’ve mentioned him earlier in the interview, but I’ve been working with an artist named Waymond Dionté, who is a talented singer and producer. We have something special in the works that we’ll be sharing in the near future. Stay tuned!

Phdirac: I’m learning more about music composition and performance in general. Over the last year or so, I’ve learned how to play a variety of instruments (including piano and bass guitar). The next big step will be to learn how to incorporate live instrumentation into my music production. I may even try creating my own compositions, which I can then sample and recontextualize into a Hip-Hop medium. That would be a great challenge and I’m looking forward to experimenting with it for our future music.

Recent Work & Contact Info

Where can we hear/watch your most recent work?

You can find us on DSPs. Here’s a link tree to all where you can find our work:

What is the best way to contact you if fans want to give feedback or if other artists/producers want to collaborate?

You can contact us on Instagram! Here’s the link:

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