By Erika Kellerman, Communication and Media major
Edited by: Bri Griffith, Creative Writing major
This is CCMG’s latest video, premiering here on The Carlow Chronicle:
Rap is always changing. People of every race, gender, sexuality, etc. have a place in the scene. With new technology and social media websites, people now have the ability to build studios at home. Avoiding spending thousands of dollars to record in-session with producers is the norm in 2017, considering anyone can upload and stream their own mixtapes to keep up with mainstream artists and their music.
Alex Stumpf, 21-year old from Latrobe, PA, is an up-and-coming rapper. He and his three friends, Cam Foster (17), Alex Foster (21), and Nick Kernicky (20), started Common Collective Music Group (CCMG) in July 2017. Stumpf said, “[CCMG] is a group of people who have the same passion. We do it our way. We want it to grow into more than music–like Odd Future.” Stumpf added, “We have to trust ourselves. If no one else likes [our music], it doesn’t matter. [We] like it, and that’s all that matters.”
Stumpf started writing when he was in 7th grade. He said that other kids were doing it, but he was shy, so he kept his work to himself. “The first time I freestyled, [I was] out having fun with the guys,” said Stumpf, “People started to encourage me, and they really liked it. I thought I could give it a shot. I had a vision and it just started taking off.”
Stumpf, whose artist name is “Truman,” hated the first song he ever dropped. He said, “I laid my first verse with Cam [Foster], and people liked it a lot. People were surprised. I absolutely hated it, truthfully. When I started featuring on songs, I really found my groove.”
In December 2016, Stumpf started working on a project. He said, “I saw [Nick] Kernicky put something up with his turntables on Snapchat. I really liked what he was doing, so we linked up and really hit it off.”
Stumpf then moved on to writing more lyrics. He, a friend named Jason Hauser (Conley), and Nick Kernicky wrote their song “Memories” in one night. Stumpf said, “Conley laid the hook, I wrote a verse, Kernicky laid his verse, and then it was done. We sat there like, ‘Wow, this is really good!’” Stumpf said everyone started listening to their song, and although they linked up in an unconventional way, he’s glad it happened. “It was really natural and quick,” he said, “I didn’t have to think twice about it.”
Alex Stumpf, Nick Kernicky, Cam Foster and Alex Foster became CCMG. “We all have our different styles, but we encourage each other,” said Stumpf, who added he doesn’t want CCMG to be like everyone else. “We don’t put each other down, we listen, and when someone tries to do something different, we encourage them. We want people to be themselves,” he said.
Stumpf looks up to Young Thug. He likes how Young Thug brands himself; “He dares to be different. If you don’t like him, he just says, ‘Fuck you,’” said Stumpf. Even though Stumpf looks up to many rappers, he doesn’t want to sound like them; there isn’t a set direction he wants to take.
Now more than ever, men are saying it’s okay to be emotionally aware. They’re breaking down stereotypes by writing about their sexuality, like Kevin Abstract of BROCKHAMPTON, wearing dresses, like Young Thug, and being more open about the emotions they’re told to hide. Stumpf said, “If you can’t show who you are, why are you doing it? If you can’t tell [your] story, [or] show a less masculine side [of yourself], then why are you in the game? If I went through [something], it may not be the same experience as another person, but it helps,” he said, “You have to be okay with yourself to make music.”
CCMG released their first mixtape, “Welcome to Burbank,” on July 9, 2017. Stumpf said, “Kernicky got hurt and couldn’t do much, but he lit a spark under my ass. He really is like my brother and engineer.” The mixtape took nine months to finish because “Kernicky wanted to wait until it was perfect,” said Stumpf.
“Who I Do It For” is Stumpf’s favorite song off the mixtape. “[It] scratches the surface of my emotional side,” said Stumpf, “It’s [me] talking about [my inspirations].” Stumpf said, in relation to inspiration, “I’ve struggled a lot with depression and not being comfortable with who I am for a long time. I draw a lot of inspiration from that, whether it’s good or bad. The feeling of love and being in love, too.” Stumpf said someone listening and relating to the music is a “big inspiration.”
For their first music video, CCMG sat down one night, and Kernicky, “the mastermind,” according to Stumpf, introduced an idea.
CCMG watched a RAW Cypher video, a series by BLKMNDS, on YouTube; Stumpf said, “Kernicky spun around and said, ‘I wanna do something like this.’” Although it took a long time, Stumpf said once Nick Gross (23), Graphic Design and Cinematographer, got involved, he really listened to them. “He wanted to do it as much as we wanted did,” said Stumpf, “Nick [Gross] is a part of CCMG. Like I said, it’s not just music, it’s art, filming, etc.” The video was shot at a friend’s pool.
Stumpf just finished a mixtape called “Before Capote.” He said, “[People will get] a deeper sense of who I am. [It’s me] releasing my demons and showing what I’m really made of.”
You can listen to “Welcome to Burbank” here:
You can also follow CCMG here:
Alex Stumpf- twitter:
@Alex_Stumpf instagram: stumpf_alex
Nick Kernicky- instagram/twitter:
Nick Gross- twitter:
@GrossyEPS instagram: grossy.eps
Cam Foster- twitter:
@ColossalCam instagram: colossalcam
Alex Foster- twitter:
@Alex_Foster96 instagram: frostafarian69