The product of a southern father and Haitian Brooklynite mother, CornerStone has always be immersed in a mixture of cultures and influences throughout his life. Being born in Europe, spending his childhood moving around and then finally settling in the Southeast CornerStone was always taking his experiences and recording them through poems. Never one to put all his eggs in one basket, he found balance between street smarts and book smarts perusing a career as an Attorney in hopes of giving the people around him a fighting chance against the system he found so unfair and oppressive. This pursuit of balance would be his defining characteristic through his adult life. He went on to attend Auburn University but soon found himself unable to escape the ills of street life. It was there he applied his practical knowledge.
“Some time after dropping out of college I was homeless living in an abandoned building in E. Highland Columbus, GA. After while I joined the Army reserves and Moved to Killeen, TX. It was always the same cycle no matter where I went. I spoke and carried myself in such a serious or business like manor I had to prove to the street niggas that not only was I not to be played with but that I was also smart enough to contribute in ways they couldn’t. I was the smart one, though a little short tempered”
After a short time living in Killen, establishing himself in the Nightbreed street organisation, and meeting his future wife Laneishia he found himself once again stuck in a dead end situation. He then decided to join the Active Army and with his educational background in toe he enlisted into the JAG Corps working by day hustling by night.
“I always felt like I was looking over my shoulder. I didn’t want to depend on legal money because I knew it could disappear and I didn’t want to depend solely on illegal means because I know it was a ticking time bomb. Still, I’ve always found myself traveling from the Trap to the Office but the one place I always wanted to spend my time was the recording studio.”
It was during this time he met rapper and BMF associate Cross-A-Million. They were connected in the mutual pursuit of finance but became fast friends. It was during this time he also met Jack Papers in Atlanta where they would record songs as Jack interned as an engineering student. CornerStone going by “G. Reaper” starting recording as a part of Millennium Plus Ent partnering with future recording artist Young Soda. Soon enough he moved to Stuttgart, Germany where he would met 3rd Eye (then King Karizmah) and they would form the rap group Official High recording at MOTA Productions Studios with Oliver “Ollie” Deckenhof.
Once again, however the streets would have their way. After a recording session in Neu Ulm, Germany a collaborating artist under the influence would attack CornerStone forcing him to defend himself. The attacker found himself in a Coma from stab wounds and CornerStone would find himself in a German prison. He was tried for Attempted Murder and found guilty of Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecution often sited the “Grim Reaper” moniker as a plot point for their case stating that CornerStone’s military training gave him an unfair advantage in the altercation.
“I never understood how I was found guilty of defending myself “too well”. Wasn’t I charged with the defending an entire country?”
He was given 7 years and transferred to the American prison system. During this dark time he met Jay Fox and began to write songs with the hope of one day collaborating on the outside. After losing a promising career and his wife seeking divorce, CornerStone saw a light at the end of the tunnel: He was granted parole after 3 years.
Upon release he once again continued his career this time in Birmingham, AL as a litigation paralegal and a student at Samford University. He gained custody of his daughter and began to rebuild his life with a new girlfriend and outlook on life. 2 years later he was reunited with his estranged wife and fellow artist Cross, Jay Fox, and 3rd Eye. It was then that he decided to combine his education, business mind, and love for music and start a label for artist like him.
“I felt like we had talent as artist and I wanted to use my business and legal know how to help us reach the next level and fill a musical void.”
CornerStones experiences range from life in the lower middle class to college student, homeless, soldier, Prisoner to businessman. His music is often less braggadocious and instead more reflective. He’s often seen waxing poetic about finding balance between the black market the stock market; love and hate; reflection and having an eye towards the future. Never one to shy away from his own personal turmoil as fuel, he often times leaves even the most private experiences in the recording booth for the public ear.
Moving around between the East Coast in the self has given him several musical influences. Among his influences are Jay Z, Joe Budden, Rick Ross, Fabolous, The Lox, T.I., Jim Jones, System of a Down, Lloyd Banks, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, Korn, Skyzoo, Yoko Kanno and Young Jeezy.
“For me music is a way to not only express myself, but it’s a way for me to cope with different situations in life. Whether they be good or bad every event.. every important moment seems to have a soundtrack. I believe when we listen to artist as we experience life those artist become a part of our lives. It almost feels like those people are their inspiring or reflecting or even going through situations with you through their music. I once read something like this: People always want to know what songs mean but they don’t mean anything they express and it’s your interpretation of those expressions that give it meaning.”
Being the founder and CEO of a Label has it’s own set of challenges. He wants his artist to be able to relate to him on a peer level. The love for the music and the ideals represented through the expression of each artist is the most important thing. He founded Power Seat with the idea that if the artist could express themselves in a way that was genuine, there would be no need to market to a particular demographic. The people will be touched by the music that is meant to touch them. They will be a part of Power Seat and Power Seat will be a part of them. It’s at that point the artist, the label, the supporters, affiliates, and the fans cease to be separated in these pre-rendered categories. It’s at that point that they all become a family.