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Artist Deep-Dive: Count Bass D and The Manifestation of Individualism

Count Bass D, also known as Dwight Spitz, is one of the most unique artists in hip-hop-- and he continues to be so 30+ years since composing his first track. Though he has been a lesser-known member of the burgeoning hip-hop scene over the majority of its existence, his underground status is more indicative of his individuality rather than a lack of talent or appeal. His sound, a meticulous mix between early rap/sampling and harmonic, self-composed melodies is as exciting as it is engaging.


Count was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1973. At the age of four, his father, a minister from the Caribbean, encouraged him to get involved with music at church. He began diligently learning a vast range of instruments, most notably the piano. However, his passion for music, especially the type of music he would make in the future, truly flourished when he moved to Canton, Ohio. There, he began attending a church with a majority African-American congregation-- and instead of the guitars and drums he was used to in church, he experienced the enchanting sounds of organs and

grand pianos. He also began rapping with his friends from an early age. These influences were pivotal in his early appreciation of music. When he moved on to attend a boarding school in Pennsylvania, being away from the church encouraged him to seek out ways to learn music more directly, leading him to embark on music courses as a primary means of learning. Due to constant relocation in his formative years, Count cultivated friendships all over the East Coast. These friends would also introduce him to music from their areas. The way he understands music has been critical to his sound and is largely due to his upbringing. He was a musician essentially since birth and he was fortunate to fall in love with many different kinds of music and instruments. This musicality has shaped The Count's sound throughout his career.

When it comes to his discography, Count is a certified workaholic. He has released twenty-five studio albums with six compilations and three DJ mixes. He has also released almost as many stand-alone singles, including "Too Much Pressure" (2017) with Snoop Dogg, on which he displayed his abilities to make a mainstream hip-hop-sounding track. However, he is most notorious for his

work with the late MF DOOM, both appearing on what is perhaps DOOM's most critically acclaimed album, MM... FOOD (2004), and also having DOOM make an appearance on his album, Dwight Spitz (2002). He saw his time with the masked villain as an education, picking up a wealth of musical wisdom from him. This was a pivotal moment in his education of music and would shape the type of musician that he would become in the 21st century. There was also constant speculation amongst the fans of both beloved MCs who believed that Count was also Mr. Fantastik, a mysterious character who appeared on DOOM's legendary track "Rapp Snitch Kinishes" (2004). This has however been denied by the Count himself, in addition to other rumors circulating about the identity of the unknown MC. On his own, Count is just as clinical as he is when he is rapping with some of rap and hip-hop's biggest names. Still going strong, he most recently released Walter Dwight (2023), which contains some of his grooviest melodies in recent times. He has also been committed to releasing a number of instrumental albums over the years, which showcase his production abilities and provide listeners with an insight into Count's creativity.

The majority of his early career was spent strictly as a recording artist, garnering him a niche, hip-hop head fanbase. Being an introvert, his music-making habits were, and still are, reminiscent of his personality. He makes music for himself first and foremost because it is primarily for him, and close friends, to enjoy. His career is both a cautionary and somewhat tragic tale, reminiscent of many great musicians. Striving to stay as true to yourself as possible and be distinctive is something all artists value, yet few artists maintain. It is hard to make a lot of money without selling parts of yourself or your musical persona, which is why those who don't adapt themselves to the industry typically struggle to gain popularity. The Count has adapted somewhat, touring for the first time in the 2010s and releasing more publicly, however, his music has retained its distinctive sound and witty inside jokes.


Rapper Blueprint, a renowned talent in his own right, provides perhaps the most detailed source of data for The Count's career and inspirations with his Count Bass D Cheat Code Interview (split into two parts due to its length). This was a great source for my article and much of what I have said about his personal beliefs comes from what he said in the interview. The interview is a refreshing conversation between two artists who truly love what they do. They speak on the music scene now, how it was in the early 2000s, and personal issues that the Count has faced throughout his career. The latter was especially impactful, as few artists, particularly those from the early days of hip-hop, explicitly address their struggles. The interview was a great help in writing this article, and it provides a comprehensive exploration into the mind of a creative genius.

The Count is one of those artists who doesn't care if they are performing at a big festival or headlining an important show. He remains true to himself, consistently creating music that emanates from the depths of his heart, reflecting the essence of Count Bass D's identity. As I mentioned earlier, it's disheartening to witness artists who staunchly resist "selling out" and consequently endure financial or other hardships. Nevertheless, this determination instills confidence in artists to wholeheartedly pursue their artistic vision, disregarding trends or the quest for widespread acceptance.


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