Test challenges hip-hop in the best way possible. Living up to his name, the Baltimore rapper delivers slick, swaggering, and sharp verses every time he picks up the mic, baiting the genre to keep up. That moniker of his is something that he’s even carried since childhood as if music was always going to be his destiny.
“When I was a little kid, I used to always get on my mom’s damn nerves,” he laughs. “She’d tell her friends, ‘He’s always testing me. He’s testing my patience’. She’d call me her little Test Me. I started rapping at 13-years-old, and the name just stuck.”
After falling in love with the Mr. Cheeks and the Lost Boyz hit “Renee”, the budding teenage MC would sequester himself inside of a hallway closet at his sister’s house, writing rhymes all day. His diehard work ethic yielded a local radio hit with “What It Is”. His city began to take notice too. Soon, Test found himself opening up gigs for everybody from Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy to Rick Ross and releasing a steady stream of independent mix tapes as his fan base blossomed to include the likes of Future. However, in June 2012, he faced true tragedy with the untimely passing of his mother, Ms. Brenda L. Young.
“That was the most devastating thing I ever dealt with,” he sighs. “She was my biggest fan. She was always right there in my corner, and she’d help me do whatever I had to do to succeed in music. However, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Shortly after, Future signed him to a deal with his imprint label Freebandz. Test got to work writing even more songs and recording and mixing them himself—as he does with all of his music. He also further honed his sound.
“I’m a lyricist first and foremost,” he proclaims. I’m a fan of having stories and concepts. I’ve got a Southern accent since my family is from Dallas, but there’s an East Coast flavor because I grew up in Baltimore. My music brings those styles together. I have my own lane, but I can take many exits on the highway creatively. Rap is like a sport to me.”
In 2014 Test will release his new project on Chillin Hard Music/Freebandz titled Crabs and Blow, which serves as a fitting introduction to his world in more ways than one. The title speaks to Baltimore loud and clear and beyond.
“Baltimore is home of crab cakes and seafood, but there’s a crab mindset,” he explains. “We’re all like crabs in a barrel, trying to get to the top while someone else is trying to pull us down. People don’t want to see the next person succeed. At the same time, if you’re hustling for your art or business, you’re trying to blow up. If you’re on the street, you might be selling blow. Baltimore is known for drugs, and it can be a ratchet place. I wanted to bring those two ideas together and present it to the world. It’s my story. There’s pain, but there’s also prosperity.”
Ultimately, Test isn’t here just for the challenge. He’s here to lift the game up. “I want people to feel like they can relate to what I’m doing,” he concludes. “Every record has a purpose, and it comes right from me.”