Alexander Spit: “I needed a big break, [to have fans] beyond homies. It pulled me into a place like, ‘Damn is this really my calling? Is music really my shit?’ I started comparing myself to other artists, I started thinking maybe I need to make a club record or some radio singles. I was really lost and this was after the first year of me living in LA. I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in and I got into a real dark state.

“After I put out Until Next Summer in 2010, I was like: I gotta work on a new project, but I didn’t even know what to call it. I had worked on music for seven to eight months and nothing I had made I was satisfied with. I went through much of that period in a heavy writers block and a heavy creative block and I got real dark.

“As a result I just stopped caring about rap music and I started going out more. I started taking a lot more drugs and started getting a lot more drunk and being reckless when I was going out. What spawned out of that was that I still had this urge to make music, even if the music I was making wasn’t something I was liking and no one was fucking with it.

“At the beginning of 2011 I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to sit down and just make music and not care about what people think. If I put this out and it does good, keep it moving. I put this out and no one gives a fuck, we’re going to keep it moving. Maybe I got to think about doing something else, maybe this music shit isn’t the path.’

“At this point I’m 23. I started rapping when I was 10 and knew I wanted to be a rapper when I was 11. My mind was set on making a career out of rap for a good 12 years and that shit gets exhausting when you ain’t getting results. I was like, ‘I’m going to do this project cooped up in my room and I’m going to get as high and drunk as possible until I feel a creative urge.’

“I built a studio in my room. I started working on one track at a time and paid close attention to everything down to the mixing, reverbs, and echoes that I used on my vocals. It was finally done and I was like I don’t want to put this out with The Hundreds, I want to see where I’m at as a solo artist. That led to me putting out the project These Long Strange Nights at the end of 2011.

“It was a leap of faith. I put it out on my website and sent it to everybody I knew. I did what I knew was right; booked a listening session and release show. Within a week of the project responses started coming in and people were really really fucking with it more than they did with the last couple of projects. I was close to quitting rap and giving up on making music for a living. I put that album out and it ended up being authentic, honest, and true and people respected that.”