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You might think that at 24, a guy might not have a lot of life lessons to share. But, in the case of New York hip-hop artist Bud Lyfe, you’d be wrong.
You don’t need money
To be spoiled in riches
That comes from within us
Don’t let nobody tell you different
I’m just sharing life lessons
That I’ve acquired by living
Lyfe has a maturity beyond his years, which shows up in his lyrics. He has truly lived and faced the loss of life. He speaks openly of his four brothers, his Catholic school education, his work ethic, his marriage, and the painful tragedy he and his close-knit family have experienced.
In 2019, two of Lyfe’s older brothers, Joseph Rivera and Ricardo Leon, were shot and killed in Brooklyn, New York. “It was just a random shooting,” Lyfe says. “It was over a heated debate and argument over nonsense.”
Lyfe acknowledges it was his brothers who inspired him to make music in the first place. “I come from a large family, and we all were just making music,” he recalls. “I really looked up to my older brother. And when he started rapping, I was always following what he did.” He also mentions the musical influence of his older cousin, who “opened up for Fat Joe back in the day.”
However, it was the loss of his brothers that inspired Lyfe to get more serious about his own music. “I try to make music to live up to their memory and the things they would have wanted,” he explains.
Just like a tumor
Lost my brothers, my mentors, my tutors
This type of hurt
Can’t be measured with a ruler
He adds that his family’s faith has helped them all get through the pain. When asked about his mother’s grief, Lyfe shares, “She’s still going through it, but you know, with God and everything like that – we’re pretty religious – we kind of tend to get through things.”
The rising artist grew up going to Catholic school, and while he didn’t necessarily appreciate his education at the time, he says, “I definitely appreciate what it did for me as an adult.”
After a recent interview, Lyfe was on his way to pick up his wife, and another way he shows his maturity level is in the way he speaks about his marriage. “I’ve been in a serious relationship since I was very young,” he says. “I settled down, and I found the right one.”
However, the couple is putting off having kids for a few more years. “We’re planning (to wait until) around 30, you know, trying to secure a foundation before we pick up and do something serious in that,” Lyfe comments.
To build that secure foundation, Lyfe works in an apprenticeship program that takes him to different job sites three to four days a week. The hours he works may vary, but his devotion to making music does not.
“I work on my music every single day, a minimum of three hours,” he says. “When I get home, I write. And even when I’m at work, I’ll take a break, or if I’m not busy, I’ll write something. I’ll contact people and network. I’m always setting something up.”
All that hard work is paying off. In May, Lyfe dropped two videos on his YouTube channel and produced a six-track EP.
You can make assumptions
But you don’t know
What I’m goin’ thru
Take a moment
Losing everything that’s close to you
Lyfe also is looking forward to doing some more live performances. He admits that his first live performance in 2019 was a nerve-wracking experience, but says, “I think we knocked it out of the park.”
“I received like 400 followers after that, and people were kind of networking back and forth. I had a really good time, and I never felt as though I was out of place at any moment.”
When asked about his goals for his music, Lyfe stresses that making money is not his motivation. It’s the art itself. “The money is really not a factor to me because I’m going to work,” he says. “I’m going to continue to make money.”
“The reason that I started making music is because I don’t like to open up with my family. It’s not because I don’t like to tell them things. It’s because I know other people have burdens and their own troubles that they go through on a daily basis. I don’t want to have somebody have to feel like they need to take on mine as well.”
Lyfe says that making music is a release and a way for him to “deal with things on my own.” Sometimes his level of personal storytelling comes at a price, though.
“Some of the pages of my notepads are kind of wavy because sometimes I catch myself dropping tears on the paper,” he shares.
However, Lyfe hopes that his music helps provide an outlet for his fans who may have no other outlet – people who are hurting and may not have anyone to talk to about it.
And it seems to be working. He says he hears from fans who tell him, “I looked at some of your music and then, you know, it kind of cleared me, gave me a better headspace – a different perspective on things.”
Some people let tragedies break them, and others allow heartbreak to mold them. Bud Lyfe has transformed his experiences into a living legacy honoring two lives that light his way day in and day out.
*All lyrics from Free Form by Bud Lyfe
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