The truth is, I was Lenny Diko from the age of 19 to about 26 or 27. I starting making music in the latter days of high school (around 1999/2000) and continued until about 2008 or so before I officially hung up the microphone. I then went through some major shifts in life, focusing on everything from my health (mental and physical) to becoming a father and leaning into my career. I’ve always been someone who was aggressive with trying to prove themselves. Not so much for immediate gratitude or response from peers, but to myself. No matter what I’ve done, I “hustled hard”. Whether it was making music, running UIYB Records, starting a consulting business doing digital strategy or now my career of building and scaling businesses. I was a lost soul in my 20’s and I know that. And that brings me to why I re-released some of my old music. I may release more as I go, but for now this will do. My two albums “Recession Proof” (2007) and “I Hate Sunday Mornings” (2008) tell a story and it listening to them 12 years later makes it so much easier to see and hear.
Both albums tell a story of a young man struggling in so many ways. I struggled with understanding masculinity, with escaping reality, and with anger management. I prided myself on protecting my family and friends, creating a group of people that would support each other no matter what and pushing back against traditional norms. But underneath the music and stories I wrote on each song, I believe you can see the true me… A bit of a geek, a strong man, and a man that wanted to have an impact on the world around him. I was a young man that cared so much about ensuring those around him were safe and taken care of, that it often took priority over his own wellbeing.
I also re-released these two albums specifically because I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting the last year or so on my music days. This music is what landed me a distribution deal in Asia, what helped form one of the coolest hip hop groups in Vancouver (Violative Cause), allowed me to tour parts of Europe and build connections with people that were instrumental in my personal growth.
From being on stage in a small Austrian town and making music some of the most talented artists I’d ever met there, to being in studio with Emotionz in Vancouver and learning how to had depth to a song, to touring and business with Moka Only while making music with him and learning about just putting out whatever you want, to making a song with Birdapres digitally across Canada….. The stories go on and on. The business people I met at bars and clubs made me harder, they made me tough. They taught me know business is cutthroat but so much good can come from it. The ripple effect from capitalism can be an incredible thing. And independent hip hop is the perfect bridge between liberal arts and conservative capitalism. It made me who I am.