Corey Loveless has been a hip-hop nerd since he was a kid.
“I listen to all music in general, I try to keep musically diverse. I have been rapping since the sixth grade, seriously about two years,” the Cortland man said.
Loveless, 22, a youth care specialist at William George Agency, put out an album of rap music Friday, his third major release, called “For Anyone.”
All original music, it has 10 tracks, available on Spotify, Apple Music iTunes and YouTube.
“My music, I guess it centers a lot around my life. I use music as a way to vent,” Loveless said. “I make all types of hip-hop. Most of it is emotional.”
“I may release CDs at some point, but I would sell them at shows,” he said. “With COVID, that’s probably not going to happen.”
Hip-hop isn’t just rap. It’s a larger culture with five distinct elements, Loveless said: DJing, graffiti art, B-boying or breakdancing, rapping and a style of dress.
“It’s a culture that encompasses rap,” he said.
The movement became popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Out of all those elements, rap is the most lasting and influential art form, the Encyclopedia Brittanica reports.
“I started working with rap artists in Cortland almost 20 years ago,”said Lonnie Park of Freeville, a recording engineer, producer and musician. “I was quite impressed that Cortland had truly skilled artists and an underground scene brewing. I started a recording studio and music store back in 1992 and at the time, I knew Cortland as a hard rock town. But once I started to work with artists in the community, it became clear that Cortland was far more musically diverse than I realized.”
Park has worked with rockers, country artists, folk, jazz, gospel, hip-hop singers and those who make music for children. Right now he’s working with DC rapper Konshenc and an Indian producer.
Loveless’ album is available on all social media platforms at Loveless—136.
“I am part of a larger hip-hop group: Dim136, which stands for Dimension 136. Most of us go by 136.”
He also made a music video to the song, “Belief.”
“The concept of the video is a morning routine of a person with suicide ideation,” he said. The song is “almost a therapy session of issues going on in life.”
The 22-year-old moved every three years while growing up because his father is a military man.
“I did not grow up in this area,” Loveless said. He came to Cortland in his junior year and graduated Cortland High School in 2016. He got his associate’s degree in liberal arts at Tompkins Cortland Community College. “I do graphic design as well,” he said.
Loveless works closely with his producer, Ryan “Process” Pierce, his roommate who he met in college. Pierce produces beats using Ableton Live program, working from music samples at times.
“Hip-hop is big on recycling music,” said Loveless, who worked with tunes from the ’90s for his album.
Pierce will dissect samples and lay down new melodies, chord structures, add drums and different sounds to make the beat, Loveless said.
“Often times, I am here with him doing solos while he is making beats. I have a lot of input on what it will sound like,” he said.
The men work out of a small studio with ProTools and other recording equipment. Pierce produced and engineered the music and Loveless did the writing and performing.
“Even with the video, he and I collaborated on writing the script for it. Another video will be shot in January that will go with the song, ‘Son,’ featuring Alonzo Brunn of Binghamton, who is also on the album,” Loveless said.
“When I am not doing Corey’s music, I do some of my own,” said Pierce, who works full time as an engineer, producer and artist. “He comes to me, I make him his background music, his beats.”
Pierce and Loveless have worked on four projects together; “For Anyone” is their latest. Love less wanted to go back to ’90sstyle hip hop.
“I think it’s some of our best work together,” Pierce said. “We both got in a mode when we were recording or when I was producing his beats.”
“A lot of the project is dealing with self worth, confidence and I guess dealing with anxiety and depression,” Loveless said. “It definitely helps me process through things and come into solutions and acceptance. I am getting more open about it, as well. The more honest you can be, the more beautiful the art is.”
Loveless released his first album in 2018 and got some attention from a recording label in North Dakota, Imminence Records. He released “Bright” and “Sunsets Over Burning Cities” with them. After that contract ended, he decided to go independent.
He has collaborated with Anthony “Kannon” Henry of Ithaca. He’s worked with St. Kid and his fellow 136 members: J.J. Wolfe, King and P.S.,. And he’s worked with rapper Sheridan Crane of Cortland.
“There’s not a lot of hip-hop in Cortland,” Loveless said.
Still, he learned from TC3 instructors, including Park, who taught classes on sound, and Chauncey Bennett, the leader of Tailor Made country/rock band.
“I immediately recognized that Corey was both skilled and motivated,” Park said. “I knew he was going to be a long hauler.”
Loveless said the hip-hop scene has been growing, although hiphop has fewer venues to play than rock, jazz and country.
“I have to go to Syracuse, Rochester, Ithaca and find outlets,” he said.
Loveless’ latest gig was in Ithaca, to get young people out to vote. Called Purpose is Calling, the mayor of Ithaca gave it a shout out.
In the meantime, he has no gigs, but he and fellow rappers gather at his house on Saturdays to make music.
“We cook. Have a big family dinner, have drinks,” Loveless said. “If someone wants to record, they will.”