Bobby Sessions is fighting the good fight, and he’s not stopping until justice is served. Hailing from Dallas, the rapper, songwriter, and activist uses music as a medium to voice his own personal struggles being a black man in America, while speaking for the entire African-American race as a whole. With 2020 being a wild joyride in itself, nothing hurt more than seeing George Floyd murdered in the hands of another white police officer, sparking an entire resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2010 while attending University of North Texas, Bobby penned his first poem over a beat — the rest was history. After working multiple jobs in search of his purpose, he came across The Secret documentary and discovered the law of attraction. In 2014 with $50 in his bank account, he wrote the words Def Jam on his refrigerator and low and behold, he’s now signed to the major label.
Now, Bobby returns with his newest EP titled RVLTN (Chapter 3): The Price of Freedom, speaking volumes to the current state of the world. With this being the third installment to his RVLTN series, he continues to inject real life stories about his own experiences with systemic racism and police brutality.
The irony lies in the fact that he co-wrote on Megan Thee Stallion’s viral hit “Savage,” proving his versatility and talents in the art of creating music. Flaunt caught up with Bobby via Zoom, who was located in Los Angeles. Read below as we discuss his upbringing in Texas.
Being from Pleasant Grove, Dallas, what were you seeing growing up?
It was a household filled with music. My dad would play music pretty loudly around the house, a lot of different jazz and soul music. Our lives were revolved around music and sports, probably why I do music today and have a competitive edge to a lot of what I’m doing.
What sports were you playing?
Basketball, football, and track. Football taught me the most of my life: working with a team, being able to take a hit or deliver a hit, and be prepared for anything life throws at you.
Which artists made you fall in love with music?
Tupac was my first favorite rapper. My first two rappers I remember even hearing were Tupac and Will Smith. [laughs] The first rapper I remember hearing for real. By the time Jay-Z came out in the late 90’s, that’s the first time I really had a favorite rapper. He’s had the biggest influence on me for sure.
Favorite Jay-Z song?
I like “Thank You” and “Lost One,” those two stand out right now. “So Ambitious” with Pharrell.
Did you look at his trajectory and think you could do it too?
I’d say so. I felt like he mastered the art of when I make art, I make art. When I do business, I do business. Being able to wear both of those hats. I definitely saw that as a blueprint (pun intended) for me to be able to do my thing. That’s one I’ve been following and I’ll continue to follow for the rest of my career.
Where were you working before December 2014 when you quit your job?
I was working at the postal service. At the time I got that job, that was an upgrade because I was working at Walmart before that. I was working at the real one, not delivering mail to the city. It was the warehouse I was dealing with, people would send their kids Foot Locker stuff in Afghanistan. It was time to switch things up.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Back in 2011, I quit the job I was working at to do music. In my mind, I’d failed epically. I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I’m super dope, I should manifest a million dollars and be poppin’ instantly. Things didn’t pan out that way so I got scared to take that leap of faith again until end of 2014. I knew I’m working this job now, I’m able to provide for myself and put food on the table but I’m happy. I know what stability feels like but it’s not giving me any sense of fulfillment. One day, I decided that if me rapping ends bad and I’ma be homeless on the side of the road, I’m willing to take that risk. That’s how much I believe in this thing, it’s been 10 toes planted to the ground ever since.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
I got it from my father, because I’m a junior. It’s my real name, the only difference is the added ‘s’ at the end. I can tell somebody my name’s Bobby Session a million times, they still say it back with an extra ‘s’. When I decided on my stage name, I did the work for them so they don’t have to worry about it.
You released “Black America” in 2015, how have you evolved since?
My ability to create art about the issues going on today or about manifestation has grown over time. Artistically, I’ve grown as an artist quite a bit. I’ve had a lot of different experiences. At the time I made “Black America,” it wasn’t many times I’d travelled outside of Dallas, Texas for real. Now that I’ve seen more things, I’m thinking different as an artist. The way I could go about telling these stories I believe makes for an overall better listening experience for everybody that gets a chance to check out the music.
You’ve been very vocal about racial injustice, how did the George Floyd incident affect you?
It affected, it’s something we see every single week. This is the way we’ve been treated for a very long time, way before I was born. The execution of George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Having that happen in the middle of a pandemic where people don’t know how they’re going to put food on the table and provide for themselves and their family, to see somebody have their knee on somebody’s neck for damn near 10 minutes is wild. It’s the breaking point where we decided enough is enough. The pushback that’s happened ever since has been very justified, I dont think it’s going to stop anytime soon until they fix it.
What was the mindset you were in during each RVLTN chapter?
For those listening, the RVLTN series was created where we take the unapologetic and uncomfortable conversations from the barber shop and put them on record. Chapter 1: The Divided States of AmeriKKKa was about identifying what the problems are. Chapter 2: The Art of Resistance is what happens when those divided states actually come in clash, which is what’s going on outside right now. Chapter 3: The Price of Freedom is about being self-sufficient, it deals with the aftermath of a revolution. What do we do now to be able to take care and provide for ourselves, without being dependent on them to fix anything for us? It should be played like a series on Netflix, you could start at song one, chapter one, it plays all the way until the last song on chapter three as one continuous story. I hope people enjoy it.
What’s one thing you want fans to get from RVLTN (Chapter 3): The Price of Freedom?
I want people to ultimately find what they need to be self-sufficient. Practice root economics: if you need 20 dollars to do something and you only have $5, then find 3 other people that also have $5 and are like-minded to you. Ya’ll build something together. I’d love people to take chapter 3 and every one continue the path of loving yourself, connecting and building powerful things with people that look like you. We can be self-sufficient and depend on each other to thrive today and for days to come.
You released the “Reparations” visual. What sparked you talk to about the importance of finances, while being a black man in America?
There was over 375 years of unpaid labor, black people working to build a wealth up in this country. Obviously we deserve and are long overdue for reparations. However when you have a system that’s taking a long time to give regular people $1200, imagine how long it’s going to take for them to approve then distribute the reparations. As we’re fighting for that, the point I’m getting across in the song is in the meantime, we need to do everything we can for ourselves right now. If this same system has yet to even give us a real formal apology for the wrongs they committed, I don’t expect reparations to take place tomorrow. We should be doing whatever we can for each other, with each other to provide and take care of each other while we’re waiting on them to fix their wrongs.
Meaning behind the chains on your feet while playing ball?
It was inspired by my vision, I want to give credit to the director Stack Moses who came up with this treatment for “Reparations.” We put together the visuals for all these records. We bring the directors into the studio, we play them the songs, explain the project, then we allow them to be great and come up with how they saw it in their head. This is how Stack saw it. When he explained the vision, we loved it and executed it from there.
What was the highlight from the shoot?
There was a kid on set who was paralyzed from the waist down, had a form of disability that made it not the easiest time to walk without wheelchair assistance. He had a football or a basketball we’re throwing back and forth in between one of the sets, that’s the moment I remember the most. Those shackles, after I actually had them in my hand, it brought out a certain emotion. It had all the rust on them, you could feel a lot of energy. It was a reminder that though we’ve come a long way, we still have a ways to go.
How’d you find your way to Def Jam?
My manager J Dot had a good relationship with Paul Rosenburg who’s managed Eminem, runs Shady Records. In 2018, he was appointed the CEO of Def Jam. We played him early versions of RVLTN Chapter 1, we explained the vision to him and he bought in. I was his first signing for Def Jam, one of the biggest moments ever because I had Def Jam Records on a dry erase board in 2014 on my refrigerator. Something I was actively trying to manifest because my music is bold, I always viewed them as the home for the bold artists of their time. That’s where I felt was going to be the place for me, it manifested 4 years later.
How did you get to write on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage”?
I connected with her through the producer J. White. Meg’s super talented, she works very hard and quickly. Super quick, she can write material very fast. It was an honor to be in the room with her and witness it take place, I learned a lot from that experience.
Your music and Megan’s music are polar opposites, what was it like writing for her?
[laughs] When you’re collaborating with someone, you’re in their world. With Meg, it’s a bit different because you’re not really writing for her. You’re bouncing ideas off another genius. It’s good to be in someone else’s space to see how their genius works and operates, something great came from it. Me as the creative, I try to put myself in the best position to collaborate with as many geniuses as I possibly can.
What can we expect from your debut album, Manifest?
A luxurious experience, definitely one of the best bodies of work you’ve ever heard. The people coming together to make the material, we’re all tapped into a very unique zone, mental and spiritual state right now. The music taking place as a result of it is very special and very powerful. We want to make an album that can do a great deal of healing during what can be perceived as a sick time.
What are you manifesting?
More health, wealth, peace and prosperity. I’m manifesting more good times, more great experiences. I want to continue to become more confident, strong, and have more fun everyday. I want to be a part of helping people maximize their full potential, music is one of the mediums I’ll be trying to accomplish that goal. Manifest is a very important step in that journey, I’m really excited for everybody to get their hands on it.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Make sure you vote. If you’re experiencing any kind of angst about what’s going on right now in society, I highly recommend listening to the RVLTN series. It’s a good outlet to digest music during a time like this.