“Most indie artists don’t even make the chart,” says Blame One, whose self-released Days Chasing Days charted at number 39 on iTunes’ Best-Selling Hip-Hop Albums in early April. At the time, nobody seemed more surprised than the 34-year-old Carlsbad advertising executive.
“I rap about living a normal life, raising two children, and being a husband,” says Blame One, aka Jahson Rutkowki. “The challenge is trying to balance my home and 9-to-5 life with my music. Most younger artists don’t need to worry about raising a family at the same time.”
Most younger artists wouldn’t follow up such success by announcing their retirement, as Rutkowki did recently.
“I feel very content with the work I have released, especially my last two albums,” he blogs. “I feel that it’s time for me to try my hand at a new venture. I never set out to rhyme to reach stardom, only for my words to be effective in reaching others.… I am going to fall back and see what the next generation has to offer on the mic.”
“A lot of people in the local underground scene were floored when Blame announced his retirement,” says James T. Powers, whose new track “Currency” features one of Rutkowki’s last recordings. “How can he strive so long to get where he is, just to retire when he gets right where he wants to be?”
Replies Rutkowki, “These cats…prolly think I’m just going through a midlife crisis right now, ha-ha!”
Rutkowki — who in the late ’90s played in the Vista rock band Mystery Extinction — bristles at his music being lumped in with so-called whole-hop (wholesome hip-hop). “Not everything I say is something I would want my son and daughter to hear, because they’re not at an appropriate age to soak it all in, for what it is. I listen to underground and gangsta hip-hop music.…”