Arts

Long Way Round by George Monastiriakos. Photo: George Monastiriakos/Provided

Monastiriakos raps about his life experiences on songs recorded over past years

A lot of law students listen to rap music, but George Monastiriakos might be the only one making his own. He’s been doing it for a while, and he’s preparing to drop three albums in three weeks this month.

Monastiriakos started rapping when he was a kid and he began freestyling back in elementary school. Him a few friends made what he calls his first professional recording in 2011. For a long time, rapping was his career goal, though he’s done school and work in between. Nowadays, rapping isn’t a career goal, but it’s still something he takes seriously.

Monastiriakos says releasing the string of albums this month is “long overdue.” He’s spent the past few years trying to set up the infrastructure to release the albums.That meant finding a good recording studio and engineer, getting the sound right, starting up his own label, working to get his music onto streaming services, and generally making sure that he has as much control as possible over the business side of things.

The first record of the three albums is called Long Way Round, comprising songs written and recorded between 2014 and 2016. The second album, How You Feel Inside, was written and recorded last year. The third album is called Unrequited Love, consisting of songs recorded this spring.

“My music is very personal, emotional, it’s not commercial, there’s a big emphasis on the lyrics, on the delivery, on the passion,” Monastiriakos said. “It’s very conscious, not mainstream.”

Each album tackles a different theme. For instance, Long Way Round deals with Monastiriakos’ life up to that point, including his travels, business experience, and a shoulder surgery that put the usually outgoing rapper into a secluded period. His newest recordings on Unrequited Love all concern love and relationships.

“I named it Unrequited Love,” Monastiriakos said. “It basically means when you love something that either can’t or doesn’t love you back. I wouldn’t say that it’s based on heartbreak per se, but that’s a theme throughout the album … There’s always this idea of love there and different ways of loving.”

Monastiriakos says that one of his bigger influences these days is Tupac because of his passion. But when he started rapping, Monastiriakos was listening to a lot of Eminem, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z, who filled the spot of male role model that he was missing growing up, though he says he wasn’t necessarily trying to emulate them.

If going to law school while writing and recording rap albums seems like a hard balance, it’s nothing out of the ordinary for Monastiriakos. It fits in with the way he approaches every aspect of his life.

“I just focus. Do school, do music, do X, do Y, try to feed all my relationships, try to nurture everything and just stay motivated,” he said. “I love doing it … just to rap and have people say “George, I appreciate what you’re saying in your music.’”

Monastiriakos is mostly just focusing on putting music out now instead of playing shows. He says putting  out music is what’s important to him because it gives a tangible record of what he was like and what he went through. On the other hand, Monastiriakos says it’s the music that people relate to more than a live set.

“People can relate to it because it’s human music. I’m sharing my pain, my experience with somebody else, and sometimes people can relate to that,” Monastiriakos said. “I’ll have people message me ‘You helped me get through a difficult time in my life,’ and for me, that’s doing something right … that for me is meaningful.”

Monastiriakos three upcoming albums will available on most streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.