Prince George’s County, Maryland-born MC, producer, artist, educator, and author Substantial, debuted in 2000 collaborating with the late Japanese producer, Nujabes, who later worked on the popular show Samurai Champloo. Legendary rapper and activist, Chuck D of Public Enemy referred to Substantial as “One of the great MCs of our time.” His soulful, introspective brand of Hip Hop music has received critical acclaim from Ebony.com, The Source Magazine, HipHopDX, DJBooth.net, and Okayplayer.com. His music videos have appeared on MTV, VH1, and BET.
Substantial has performed in nearly 20 countries and has collaborated with artists such as Kool Herc, L-Universe better known as Verbal (M-Flo), Oddisee, Jeff Bernat, and more. Substantial has licensed music to major brands such as Ford Motor Company, Amazon, and UBER and also had his music featured in films and television shows such as Kevin Hart’s Laugh at My Pain, Kill Me 3 Times starring Simon Pegg, Daytime Emmy nominated show Tough Love and it’s spin-off series Pillow Talk. Substantial has appeared in the documentaries, Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme and Give Back. In 2019, Substantial wrote and produced music featured in the video game Renaine, to be released on the Nintendo Switch and the South Korean online game Tree of Savior. In 2020 and 2021, Substantial was featured on the songs, Loyal to the Beat, ManiFesto, and Renegade from the video game Arknights which was also nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award for Original Song – Video Game. Substantial also was featured on original songs for PUBG Mobile and their short film The Growth and later for their Tesla Collaboration theme song called Evolve in 2021 and wrote and performed rap vocals as Brody from the game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang for the song and video Together by the group S.T.U.N.
As an educator, Substantial has spent over twenty years teaching and working as a youth advocate in Washington, DC, Maryland, and New York. He currently teaches Music Business classes at The Omega Studios’ School of Applied Recording Arts & Sciences in Rockville, MD and with Words, Beats & Life in Washington, DC. In 2017, Substantial along with his wife Co-CEO, Rachelle Etienne-Robinson, founded Substantial Art & Music, LLC (SAM), an organization focused on providing consulting services to the art and music community. He has built partnerships with Technology & Gaming Labs, Oxon Hill Middle School, and Guerilla Arts Ink to offer workshops in Music Production and Art & Design. Substantial has created and implemented programming for Baltimore City Public Schools, Prince George’s County Public Schools, and The Maryland-National Capital Parks & Planning Commission. While working with Covenant House Washington as a Youth Leadership Development Trainer, he built recording studios for teens in Southeast, DC before becoming Assistant Director of Prevention Services.
Although he is mostly known for his work in music and education, Substantial received extensive visual arts training at Suitland High School’s Center for Visual & Performing Arts with a focus in Printmaking. He later attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he majored in Graphic Design. He has designed most of his cover art himself and has been commissioned by other musicians such as Mega Ran, Marcus D, Jsoul, and many others for cover art, web design, and logo design. In 2016, the Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center featured Substantial’s cover design for Bop Alloy’s sophomore album “Another Day in the Life of…” in their Through Their Eyes exhibit.
With so many years of activity and accomplishments, Substantial has referred to himself as “Mr. Consistent” or a “Black of All Trades”. His journey has now lead him to write his first-ever children’s book, entitled She Sees: Based on the song ‘In My Daughters’ Eyes’ by Substantial. He continues to redefine himself and blaze new paths while embodying Ayesha A. Siddiqi’s quote “be the person you needed when you were younger”. His mission is to inspire those who question their worth and abilities while arming the next generation of artists and musicians with the knowledge to create change in their lives and in their communities, all while supporting themselves in doing what they love most: creating.
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