Bringing change through a unified collective
Hip-Hop artist James Mudrak created Unify Collective to provide a platform for local artists. With his ambitious drive and welcoming personality, Mudrak networked his way into collaboration with fellow creatives—including graphic and clothing designers, music engineers, producers, filmmakers, and more—which furthered his goal of making some noise through his music.
As an artist, Mudrak is constantly evolving, by always finding new ways to express himself through his unique sound and thought-provoking lyrics. To do so, Mudrak places emphasis on not limiting himself to a certain formula. “What separates me from everyone else is that I don’t give a fuck when I make something,” he stated.
“I don’t give a fuck in the sense that I’ll scream on one song with some crunchy 808’s and electric guitars, but then bust out a melodic verse with acoustic guitars on another, with a talk-box in the back. It’s the idea of not having people expect the same from me on each song. I’m a loose cannon ready to just fire at any direction to get my point across because music, for me, isn’t just some image that a lot of RAPPERS use it for. This shit really is my therapy, and it helps me cope with reality. Hip-hop saved my life so I feel the need to give back to her by doing something different each time.”
When writing lyrics, Mudrak gathers his ideas mainly from instinct. He never forces himself to write just for writing’s sake. Instead, he’ll only write when he feels inspired or has something to say. “My ideas come from what’s happening to me during that time, whether it’s poverty, depression, happiness, loneliness, or all the other multitude of emotions we all feel,” Mudrak stated. Lately though, through his instinctive approach in creating music, most of his recent songs are filled with anger and angst.
As a hip-hop artist, Mudrak’s influences range from the likes of Ghostemane, Zac De La Rocha, Corey Taylor, John Lennon, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Travis Scott, Kurt Cobain, TOOL, and KRS-ONE. Despite having rappers as his main source of inspiration, he negates himself from being called a rapper,
“Well, I guess I’d start off by saying I no longer label myself a rapper. Now, I’m at a point in my journey where I’d rather be classified as an artist. By being called a rapper, you’re limiting yourself to the genre, which is bad for the creative process because then you’ll never subvert expectations or try something totally left field. Instead, you’ll be stuck in your box and never explore what else music and art have to offer,” he stated.
“It’s when you feel the most frightened to create is when you know you’re in the right direction.”
Authenticity is one of the most important things for Mudrak, “I feel like I’m finally going through my phase as me, James Mudrak,” he stated. “I feel like I’ve almost found my niche in the realm of hip-hop, by bending it and doing what I’m not supposed to do with [it] rather than creating something that everyone else is doing.” Mudrak’s process in music making varies based on whatever he feels like creating. He can go from bap-dungeon-rap, to funk/soul. He constantly works with his music producer to come up with an authentic vibe that he [Mudrak] wants to push out. Despite the painstaking process, Mudrak never deterred from his creative identity as a music artist.
Unify Collective started off as a drawing in James Mudrak’s sketchbook back in 2014. It was only until 2017, when he reached out to a graphic designer, Ren Mercado, to give life to this brand. Ever since then, the rest was history. In its core, Unify Collective emphasizes on its goal to a collaborative experience with different artists to create something that is to be proud of,
“Unify Collective stemmed from my childish idea of the world being unified through the label and making a difference. As I’ve grown though, I’ve come to realize that unity is implausible. But through creating something, we become unified here at Unify Collective — but that’s not to say making a difference isn’t an option.” Mudrak Stated.
Even though Mudrak is the sole runner of the brand, to him, everyone that has worked with him is an integral part of Unify Collective. In a way, the collective transcends itself from merely being a group, but more of a movement. The brand has worked with local artists throughout Southern California to collaborate on projects that James Mudrak has pushed out. From music production, graphic art, to merchandises, Unify Collective has constantly partnered up with upcoming creatives to push a movement of collaboration. “By collaborating with others, we’re unified…” Mudrak stated, “by making a difference together, because let’s face it, doing it alone is impossible. It’s crazy to me that people think big time artists got to where they are strictly because of themselves — solo. While it’s true that talent is required, there’s a whole team of people behind that one person.”
As of recent, Mudrak plans to create more content for everyone under the label. He wants everyone to know that Unify Collective is a platform where everyone gets to have a spotlight for their own creative pursuits. If you have any more questions regarding the movement, visit http://www.Unifycollective.com, or follow them on instagram at @unifycollective.