Akapela Jonz's debut EP, "Wake UP and Dream" has had great circulation and solid reviews. What many people don't know is that before it decided on to be an EP, it was an album. I wish I could show you the first draft of the album, too. Its not that it was bad, but it just didn't fit right. It was sample heavy, and the production didn't give a big enough potential to the vision we had for Akapela Jonz's debut.

I remember sitting in the lab during his first studio session and thinking, "Man, this guy is amazing." He had strong writing, great vocal command, and most importantly he had the drive to want to keep bettering himself. The first time I sat down with Cliff and listened to the entire project -- as it was at that point-- was about the same time I had watched a documentary on Jay-Z's first album, "Reasonable Doubt." The one thing that stood out to me on that documentary was that Jay started out with the quick flow and his rhymes had a lot of words crammed into each line -- which is the early Jay-Z that not many are familiar with. In the same light, that was the same sound we were forcing upon Akapeal Jonz because of the track selection that we provided him.

The major change that was made between the original album to the EP that you have all heard was tempo. We slowed everything down -- nothing was over 95 beats per minute. In doing that, the rhymes were no longer rushed and you could understand everything that Akapela Jonz was saying. This was the same major change that the producers spoke about when Jay went in to work on "Reasonable Doubt." We ran with the idea, "less is more." When you can use less words to be more descriptive, you allow the listener to make their connections which makes a song even more relatable to their own experiences. 

So there we were, we scrapped his entire project and started fresh. It was the best creative decision we had made throughout the entire process for his project, as well as for his career. After a few months with some amazing collaborations we had about 10 or 15 songs finished. At that point we were still looking for a full length album, or at least an LP -- trying to work within those stupid iTunes loop holes so we can sell albums.

Now, when you set out to make an album (or EP, LP, etc.) you can't just take the first songs that you finish creating and slap them together and put them out -- that just doesn't make sense, unless you're making a compilation album. Even then, there was to be a central theme. Sonically, the music has to compliment each other. Thats when we decided to make the his debut an EP. Not only that, we didn't want to over saturate on the first release. Relatively unknown, people aren't as open to hearing an artist without some type of co-sign or familiarity. So we figure, a short and sweet 20 minutes will give the people enough to get an idea of who Akapela Jonz is and make them more open or receptive to his next set of releases.

Here was the hard part: which songs will be the best representation of Akapela Jonz, while still fitting in with the central theme of "Wake Up and Dream?" This is where the cutting began, and we ended with the 6 songs that you now know as the "Wake Up and Dream (EP)". What you may not know is that Summer Memories was supposed to be the outro to the project, and White Walls was supposed to be right at the heart of the project. White Walls is a show favorite, and a fan favorite. Everyone that has heard that song has said they loved it, or it was his best song -- WHY WASN'T IT ON THE ALBUM?!?!?!

Well, its simple. We know it was a dope track. It is one of my personal favorites as well...thats why we ended up releasing it this past summer. But end of the day, we all felt that it just didn't fit with the rest of the project. Not with the theme. Not with the production. It was an odd ball vibe with the EP as a whole. So we held off. Some may argue that Finale shouldn't have made the cut, or White Walls Should have replaced Finale. My response to that is at least you learn about history in school.