By Savannah Evanoff
Silas Stapleton III silently addresses every letter to himself—Dear Silas.
Although his letters are written in the form of songs he shares with the world, the rapper knows the lyrics are just as much a message for him. Dear Silas is his moniker so he never forgets.
“Usually, I like to make music for other people and channel what I’m going through so hopefully someone else can relate to it,” Silas said. “I preach a lot in my music, but I’m preaching to myself because I’m still currently going through a lot of the stuff I talk about. I’m writing to myself to keep myself going as much as I’m trying to help somebody else keep going through their daily lives.”
Silas is a big believer in manifestation. If you speak it, it will come true, he said.
The Jackson, Miss., musician rapped it, and things did indeed happen.
In 2018, he signed a record deal with RCA Records, which then re-released his album “The Last Cherry Blossom” in 2019. His song “Skrr Skrr” was a hit on Spotify and even lent itself as the soundtrack to a popular YouTube video clip featuring a scene from “Dexter’s Laboratory.”
“I love going back and listening to stuff I talked about,” Silas said, “like proclaiming, ‘One day, I’m gonna be this and I’m gonna be that,’ going back and listening to it and saying, ‘Aw, damn, that actually happened.’”
One thing Silas didn’t always visualize was being a rapper. He started spitting rhymes at 16, free-styling before school in the morning.
“It was a little hobby to do,” Silas said. “I never actually thought I could be a rapper. I told myself, ‘I’m just going to be a producer. I’m gonna make the music for the rappers.’ Kanye [West] came out, and I started to feel like, ‘Oh, maybe I can do this.’ I feel like we’re pretty similar.”
When he was younger, Silas thought hip-hop artists had to come from a difficult
background to succeed.
“I felt like I hadn’t had it as rough as most people and that if I did do it, people wouldn’t take me as serious,” Silas said. “What I’m going to rap about people aren’t going to want to hear me talk about. Kanye kinda changed that perspective. He opened up a whole new generation of hip-hop artists to go on that different path and made it mainstream.”
Being a rapper was a surprise, but being a musician was a certainty. Silas’ entire family is musicians; he didn’t have a choice.
He clearly remembers pick-your-horn day—a rite of passage for any middle school band member. His dad was a saxophone player, so naturally, that instrument was his first choice.
“I blew and nothing came out,” Silas said. “He was like, ‘Well, try this one.’ It was a trumpet mouthpiece. I played, and he was like, ‘That’s your instrument right there.’ I guess he saw the potential from that first moment.”
Silas still practices daily and busts out the trumpet for his albums and concerts. Because of his experience in jazz ensembles, he sometimes incorporates a jazz lick into a rap song.
When Silas makes music, the walls between his passions don’t raise; they disappear. He integrated his love for anime and Japanese culture in his latest album—particularly in the title.
“I watch anime almost every day—whether it’s eating, before I go to sleep at night, on YouTube,” Silas said. “In every anime I watch, there was a cherry blossom—the flower or the tree itself. I remember how serene and calm it made me feel. That’s how I want people to feel when they listen to my music. I want them to feel the way I felt when I saw a cherry blossom on the TV screen.”
The headband he wears is a nod to one of his favorite anime programs, “Naruto.”
When it comes to creative material, anything is fair game. Silas often plays a role in designing his promo materials and expresses himself through fashion and drawing.
“I might see a vacuum cleaning commercial, and I’ll get inspired to create a video,” Silas said. “It might be some retro stuff—anything. It might be a plant one day.”
Dear Silas recently freed his creative juices for his next EP. As he lyrically manifests himself a rap career, Silas wants others from his home base of Mississippi to believe they can do the same.
“Mississippi has an abundance of talented people,” Silas said. “You don’t always have to leave just to make some headway. A lot of the stuff I was able to accomplish, I was able to accomplish while staying here in my hometown. I think it’s important for other people who aspire to do things that are from the same place as me to know it’s possible to make it happen or at least get a great start right here in Mississippi.”
WHAT: Dear Silas with Jamal Steele, The Strangers and Geno Luc
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16
WHERE: chizuko, 506 W. Belmont St.