Published on August 4th, 2023 | by MC Bravado0
Meet Devon Brent, “The Recording Autyst”
Maryland emcee Devon Brent is an off-the-top savant. He’s brutally honest and funny as hell while still managing to display a craftsmanship with wordplay inspired by his heroes. Despite numerous (and serious) health issues, Devon continues to turnout records at a prolific rate, while turning to the written word to concoct records for the first time in more than a decade. Despite the switch (brought about by said health issues), Devon Brent just dropped his debut freestyle album, “The Recording Autyst“, a project that sees the stand-up comedian closer than ever to finding his voice in the booth. Recently, I had the pleasure of chopping it up with the artist formerly known as Codeine Martin, peep the outcome:
Every hero has an origin story, tell me yours.
I was a bit of a problem child: anxiety and depression were diagnosed very young and have been on SSRI’s since 10. At 14, I involuntarily attended a wilderness program, a new treatment at the time aimed at troubled youth. During my time there, I started writing poetry. On a slightly less cheesy note, it taught me how to freestyle, eventually leading to the release of 40-plus freestyles and my debut freestyle album “The Recording Autyst.” I’ve prided myself on off-the-top abilities for so long but now that I have a slew of health issues and brain fog, I’ve started to write again for the first time in 13 years.
If it’s not too personal, please touch on what’s gone on with your health. How has that affected life, work, and music?
Well, I have a genetic condition that causes chronic dislocations, it caused a lot of injuries at the wilderness program. It also made me predisposed to developing something called POTS. After covid, I started having extremely high blood pressure and heart rates, my adrenaline had been turned on and my fight or flight just won’t stop firing. It’s a rare kind of POTS called Hyperadrenergic POTS. I can’t really stand for more than 5 minutes at a time or complete 99% of basic functions. I’ve become fully disabled, past the 5 knee surgeries I already had. I have other health problems I won’t mention, but the hyperadrenergic POTS has taught me to get back to basics and start writing again. I can’t perform stand-up let alone a concert anytime soon, so my time is best spent crafting the best wordplay and rhyme schemes I can.
I appreciate you sharing, homie, and I admire you a great deal for continuing to create at the rate you are. You mentioned the stand-up thing; tell me about your love of comedy: favorite comics, who/what drew you to comedy, and how it relates to Hip Hop.
I have always used humor as a coping mechanism and found dark humor to be a refreshing reprieve from my thoughts. I started stand-up at 19 out at a bar in Timonium Maryland, oddly enough one of my first shows was on a lineup with my absolute favorite comedian, Shane Gillis. It takes years to find your voice in standup, I only started to find it about a year before I got sick, at 25. What people don’t realize is stand-up and Hip Hop are both heavy on punchlines, the only difference being whether you want to make it funny or braggadocious. The switch from funny to serious has been a challenge; sometimes I let the humor slip into my music. I still haven’t found my voice musically, but that part is infinitely harder than forming double entendres. I think eventually I’ll discover who I am, just give me some time.
More along those lines: favorite comics and emcees?
My favorite comics are Shane Gillis, Jeff Dye, Tony Hinchcliffe, just to name a few. Really anyone who can make you laugh at something you’re not supposed to. The most impressive emcees are the ones who can rap and do stand-up, which I’ve seen more and more of as of late. Dumbfoundead, Cipha Sounds, artists who can blend the lines between humor and machismo, while maintaining delivery.
You’re not someone who holds your tongue, what are your thoughts on cancel culture and the social tendency to cast stones and ask questions later (feel free to elaborate on the role of comics, musicians, etc in all of this):
I find that nowadays, anyone can catch the stones, even if you try to cave to social demands, you can still get it. I figure it’s best to just say what I honestly think, probably a tendency developed from years of stand-up. In comedy, those who abide by cultural demands tend to be the absolute worst at it. I think the rappers who make music to match whatever is hot right now are also among the worst creatives. Flying your own way is the best way to stay timeless, otherwise, the rules and societal expectations change and you could find yourself on the wrong side of history over something you didn’t even mean.
That was ridiculously well said, my man. Tell me everything we need to know about the new album:
I wanted to give people a peek into the last few years of my life, both my battles with addiction and my issues with mental health. Over the course of a month, I tried to freestyle a cohesive album, all the songs had to tell a story together. Took me about 3 weeks, but I had some old freestyles to fill out the rest. I’m sober now, albeit from health issues, not much of a choice there. But I think this album is far more musically inclined than most of my previous work, it has some soul to it. I particularly like the songs “Kilo” and “Die for this,” two songs that I think would be more accepted by the mainstream than the rest of my catalog. I have started writing now because my brain just doesn’t function like it used to, finding I am able to be much more concise, as one would expect when I take the time to revise and record multiple takes. I have another album in the works that I think will be a whole new direction, but for now, I think “The Recording Autyst” has a lot of potential, and its own unique approach given that not many artists have put out a freestyle album.
Switching gears to the tangential, 5 desert albums:
Oooh, first is Camp by Childish Gambino, The Peter Sparker Project by Spose, Xinfinity by Watsky, The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem, and then really any album by the Palmer Squares. Camp makes me kind of depressed as it brings me back to when I listened to it in high school, but all these albums have enough lyricism to carry me to the grave. I definitely have a preference for melodic yet witty music.
Top 10 emcees currently:
4. Term Knowledge of The Palmer Squares
7. Childish Gambino
8. Chance the rapper
10. Accumental of The Palmer Squares
TPS are my boys! Thoughts on the DMV music scene:
It’s unique in that there are a multitude of styles. We’ve definitely mastered the witty rap and produced many of the best in that genre such as Wax and the early life of The Palmer Squares. Also, as the home of Go-Go, we have some amazing producers here. I like to bring attention to MC Bravado, Lizzardbrain, Shadoe, and Eddie Ambition. I’d wager we have more musicians per capita than anywhere in the US, maybe the world.
I appreciate you for the love my bro. Last thought…I noticed you dropped “The Recording Autyst” as Devon Brent (your government name) and not Codeine Martin. Give us some insight into your thought process there:
Part of finding my voice has been dropping the gimmick. Codeine Martin had a great run, that was my persona when I recorded almost all these freestyles. It was a representation of myself during addiction. Getting sober is by no means fun, but you get to know yourself a bit more, and certainly, that’s more conducive to a happy life in the long run. All in all the change was worth it, but as I’ve said, the hardest part will be getting to know myself.
Make sure you give “The Recording Autyst” a spin and keep up with my bro Devon Brent on IG.