Meet Non Systemaddict
Student musician gets political
Non Systemaddict, Magdiel Esai, is a local rapper, producer, KGNU DJ, podcaster, and a music and business recording arts major at CU Denver. His debut, EP ONE, was released in August, and he was one of the openers for the Dead Prez show. He first moved to Denver with his brother in 2014 from El Paso, Texas, originally coming to school for financial aid but soon became immersed in the music program.
Esai has always made music, but he did not take it seriously until after high school. In Texas, he spent a year in jail for marijuana possession, where he would constantly write. “That’s when I took lyricism seriously,” Esai described, “I had no experience with making beats, and I never played any instruments or anything. I got into this because I like writing lyrics.” With the music program, he gained access to Ableton and began to experiment, soon using it as one of his main sources of production.
Ever since Esai began, he would consult friends about the different music programs available, delving into in-depth conversations. His Bit Death Podcast was born out of these conversations, where he explores music software and production methods. “It started with my curiosity. I just wanted to learn with what other people did, and I wanted to learn myself,” Esai said.
The EP begins with the song “Dilla,” a melting pot of auditory sounds. Drums thump the song into existence, several lines of lyrics following after, both bold and strong, “the tactics gorilla.” The song fades in and out with the lyrics fading to voices from varying settings, twisting in interesting perspectives to the rest of the lyrics. A tenor saxophone coos in and out throughout the song, an almost haunting addition that echoes under the lyrics and other instruments.
Another song off the EP, called “I remember,” “takes a motherfuckin’ stance” with a clash of cymbals setting the beat for unwavering lyrics focused toward the police: “They call this the land of the living but they’re trying to make a dead man out of me.” An electronic chord that varies between both higher and lower notes wraps itself into the lyrics, becoming a staple in the song. Toward the end, police sirens, gunshots, and chanting voices suddenly build up to a recorded speech. “I am the law and order candidate,” Trump’s voice sounds, a clever placement toward the song’s message before reaching an anticlimax and running smoothly into the next song, “Island.”
Esai’s realist lyrics relay gnawing emotion and message. EP ONE is prominently rooted in hip-hop and dub but successfully explores other territories.
Non Systemaddict’s EP ONE is available on both SoundCloud and Spotify. His website provides links to his Bit Death Podcast, and tune in for his once a month hosting of a Reggae show as DJ Live Sift on KGNU radio station.