Milwaukee is quickly becoming a hotbed for hip-hop. Artists like Ishdarr, WebsterX and Reggie Bonds are all getting attention from national outlets you previously had to be from New York, L.A., Chicago or Atlanta to be recognized by. A name that isn’t getting that attention yet, but soon will, is Comondabeat.
Originally from Racine, Wisconsin, Com has been writing raps since he was eight years old. After years of casually putting out music for friends he was put into the local spotlight by Rob “Richie Rich” Johnson, another Milwaukee rapper with connections to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Records who unfortunately passed away in a car accident just this past weekend.
“First off, rest in peace to Rob, because that’s where it all started,” Com says of his early days. “I was rapping before that, but like business wise, and really putting music out there started with him.”
Com eventually left Richie Rich and his group, Team High Life, after some creative differences, but insists that there is no bad blood between them.
Early on, Com was influenced by legends like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Eminem. Currently Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and J. Cole can be seen as influences in his music. The one rapper that Com sees as a true inspiration for his career is New Orleans’ Curren$y.
Com’s style has evolved in just the few years he has been serious about music. He’s gone from a more serious sound, revolving around his life story (his first mixtape was titled “My Life”) to a sound that is more easy going and free flowing.
“It’s more laid back now,” Com says. “Before I was all sad and rapping all this real struggle shit, now I’m just trying to bring a good vibe to people and have fun with it. I feel like I can write whatever comes to my mind now. Before, I was worried about what people would think. Now I’m just more confident”
Like many rappers coming up in the internet era, Com says that he started out stealing beats from Youtube. Since there are now so many rappers and many of them have no way to connect with producers, places like Youtube and Soundcloud become communities for rappers and producers to connect with each other.
These days Com does have connections with up and coming producers. One particular connection he’s made is Basquiat. Basquiat is best know for producing tracks for underground favorite Joey Badda$$. Another song Basquiat produced is Com’s biggest hit to date, “5 Stars and Adderall”. “That beat cost me a lot of money,” Com laughs. “Producers don’t fuck around. They want their cash.”
Another connection Com has made is a new management situation. He is now managed by Montgomery Management, the same company that manages Reggie Bonds. “Now I’m getting into some major blogs, I’m getting some shows, It’s a good situation,” Com tells me confidently.
This management situation is a big step in a current hip-hop landscape where many young artists are skipping out on signing with major labels to just work independently with a management team.
Having the same management as a quickly ascending local star like Reggie Bonds is giving Com a learning experience unlike any other. “He just works, his mentality is all business,” Com says about Bonds. “It’s not just about releasing music. You have to have a plan. Just like anything else in life you have to have a plan.”
Com feels like he is next up and is ready to be the next Milwaukee rapper to blow up on a national level.
“I’ve prepared for this since I was 8,” Com tells me. “Every morning I write. I’ll write like three pages of the first thing that comes to my head just so I’m ready in case someone asks me to freestyle.”
Even though he’s ready to blow up, he’s not willing to sacrifice his sound just for short term radio fame. He understands the current landscape of the music industry, and the fact that you can make a quality living putting on shows for your fans and staying independent.
“I feel like I’m more of an underground rapper anyways, and you can still make money that way,” Com says, confident in his knowledge of the rap game’s new rules. “The game’s changed so much where it’s just about shows now. As long as you keep the fans involved you’ll be good. I’ve been on the radio and I don’t even listen to the radio. I’ve been on V100 and on a station in Madison and I didn’t even know it. People will call me and let me know they heard me.”
As for what’s next, Com says he has a stockpile of songs ready to go. He’s hoping to take around 7 or 8 of them and put together a mixtape. All he’s waiting for is that breakout track. “I really want to take my time with this one,” he says. “I want to approach it the right way.”
He says the title of the upcoming project will be called “The Journey” and hopes to release it in February of 2016.
“Thats the most important part of it all, just getting there,” Com tells me about the name of the tape. “You have to embrace this whole journey because once you get there then what? Then it’s just about giving back because you already lived it.”
Com’s journey is sure to be an interesting one to watch.